Monday, April 26, 2010

A1A Beachfront Avenue, just kidding just kidding

So the day everyone else left for home, Corinne, Kyle and I headed down to Ft Lauderdale. Ada tagged along, too. Jon had wanted me gone until he finished his finals, and Corinne and Kyle wanted a beach vacation, and their friend's parents have a condo there, so it was the perfect thing.

The place was on A1A, right on the beach. "A1A" meant nothing to me prior to this trip, but apparently Vanilla Ice rapped about it once, so...... everyone who's anyone has heard of it.

Ada's first time seeing the ocean!

It was a little bit stormy our first day there, so we took a roadtrip to the Everglades. I petitioned heavily for an airboat tour but was ultimately vetoed. (Think of the pictures we could have taken! The hair flying! The lips flapping in the wind!)
Instead we spent about thirty minutes at the very first viewing platform we could find, and guess what?? ALLIGATORS! Right there! From the very first second we arrived!

Baby alligator:

So pretty:

An alligator named Gunsie:


On our way back we stopped at this roadside fruit stand for milkshakes. Sooooo goooood. I got mango, but check out the menu - I could have gotten a sapodilla one! What the what!?

Best nap hair ever:

Aaaand, the next day at the beach:

This picture isn't a fair representation, because Corinne was in the sun and I was in the shade, but it's the best one we got:

Kyle flying a kite in the background. I FLEW A KITE! It was my first time. Sort of. I've always thought I've never flown a kite, but then a few years ago my mom dug up a picture of me flying one when I was like two. Does not count.

It's overrrr!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Disney World Picture Overload

Okay. Disney World. In two words: AWESOME and exhausting. I ate good food. I rode rides. I laughed until it hurt. I bombed many a photo. It was nonstop action from 7 in the morning until midnight each night, and I feel like I’m still trying to unwind and catch up on sleep (though it might have more to do with the cold I caught a couple of days ago). But it was SO MUCH FUN.

First things first. We were lucky enough to follow this chick into Epcot on Day 1. Best skirt ever:

You are looking at butt cheeks and polkadot underwear. We joked about her the entire rest of the trip. For example, when sitting on a rough rock wall: “If I was that one girl, this would be really uncomfortable”. When boarding Thunder Mountain: “I hope that one chick didn’t ride in this seat today”. Endless jokes.

Speaking of bests – here’s the best janitor ever:

Broom + dustpan full of water + best janitor ever = disappearing Mickey art on the sidewalk.

On ‘It’s a Small World’ – this picture cracks me up, because that was Ada’s expression for the first twenty minutes of that ride. Eyes and mouth wide open. In high school I used to babysit a little boy her age whose parents swore by Baby Mozart…he wore that exact same expression each time I pressed ‘play’. “It’s a Small World” is just as mind-numbing. By the end of the ride, I looked just like Ada.

Near the end of our first day, my brother’s wife Serena arrived. Jake couldn’t make the trip from Iraq, so she came without him. With the rest of the husbands missing, this trip was more of an “all-girls plus The General” thing. Here we are the morning of our second day (which we spent in Animal Kingdom, which was awesome).

Best sign ever:
This was in the shuttle we took each morning. At first I was confused. I am NOT gratitude is appreciated. Then I figured it out, and from then on I was sure to thank him warmly each time I exited.

Corinne and Serena before the Bug’s Life 3-D show (which I HATE, btw.) This was right before the announcement to cease taking flash pictures in the waiting room.

I rode it five times.

It’s hard to tell that we’re COMPLETELY soaked from the Kali River ride, because we’re so soaked that we’re a uniform color. My shirt was light grey previously.

Ada peering at me on the safari ride.

Flying fox


AMAZING animal enclosures

So proud of this action shot.

Those of us who rode Expedition Everest (everyone minus my mom...boooooo!!)

Last thing in Animal Kingdom – I didn’t get a picture of this, but it was HILARIOUS and I wish I had. We were waiting for a parade to start when a family walked passed us, and the tiny girl in the stroller was hugging an enormous, plastic, spiky, angry-looking T-rex toy. It was as big as she was. Such a welcome sight after two days of seeing little girls dancing around Disney World in princess dresses. I hope my kids are that rad.

OH MY GOSH, so I learned about this glorious thing called a Cuban sandwich on Food Network a few weeks ago, and I ATE ONE in Downtown Disney. It was everything I’d hoped it would be. And yes, I do realize I was probably the last person on earth who didn't know what a Cuban sandwich was.

Day three - Universal Studios and Epcot. I RODE THIS:

In line for the Toy Story ride

Serena, when she and I ditched the 45 minute Ellen Degeneres 'ride' for ice cream:

Last day: Blizzard Beach and Magic Kingdom. Kyle came for this one day in the park before the trip down to Ft Lauderdale.

In our rashguards. Annie because of the sun thing, and me because I don’t need to be any more tan than I already am. Also, apparently I’m a giant.

On our way out of the water park I grabbed a half-dozen of these “mini donuts” that were so delicious I continued eating them even after I found a suspicious short curly black hair in one. I displayed it to everyone, threw that particular donut away, and kept eating. Kyle said he was impressed that I didn’t throw them all out. I told him it was nothing compared to the hairy scab I once fished out of my mouth when eating a Dairy Queen sundae. I was nauseous for two days.

Kyle to Corinne: “Just THINK of what this would do for our love life!!”

Oh gosh. I was planning to document Disney World and Ft Lauderdale all in one post, but I can see now that was a bad idea. So more pictures later. Kthxbai.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

NAMES 2009!

Welcome to the third annual BABY NAMES spectacular. The newspaper insert was waiting for me when I came home from Disney World. It had a longer way to come this year than previously. Having parents that live in Southeastern Idaho is fun! Special thanks to my mom for mailing it, and to the Rexburg Standard Journal for offering this glimpse into last year's Idaho (and Utah) naming trends.

[Previous installments here and here]

Let’s bear in mind that each of the following names represents an actual child. Moment of silence. Now let’s jump right in to the carnage.

The "To-Be-Expecteds":
Kambree (x2)
Kinzley (I couldn’t decide which was worse, so I included both)

The "Spelling Abominations":
Dylynn (a boy!)

Weird Hybrids:

Inspired by Sarah Palin:
Brystol Tyhler (I love how they made them even worse than the originals! I didn’t think it was possible, but apparently it is.)

Inspired by 'The Incredibles':

Inspired by 'Saturday’s Warrior':

Aaaaaaand, the "WHAT THE EFF??!?'s"

Cason (Possibly a typo)
Bentley Bostun
Raleigh (a girl, and of all the cities in the world...really?)
Crymson Rayne (you should have seen the disgusted look on my husband's face when I showed him this one)
Fynch (a boy, not like it really matters)
Twins: Macall and Avri (tell me that’s not supposed to be pronounced “Avery”!)
Scottland Presley

A couple of notes: Last year’s ever-popular “Ryker” appears to be losing steam (there were only two this year), though there was a “Ryken” so maybe it’s just evolving. The most abundant boy’s name this year by far was Jackson/Jaxon/Jakson. For girls, Madison remains among the most plentiful, which I find FASCINATING given that these children were all born in Madison County, at the Madison Memorial Hospital.

In conclusion, I’ve given a lot of thought into made-up names – more specifically, the conversation that must take place for a husband and wife to invent and agree on a made-up name. This is the scenario I picture. The husband is watching ESPN, and the very pregnant wife is making up names. Every few minutes she throws out a suggestion – “What about Myzlie? …How about Kamsee?” The husband responds to each name with a distracted grunt. Finally, the wife suggests the name Trayzleigh. The husband pulls a scornful face – “that’s…” - but then, with a look of dawning amazement, he continues – “…the best made-up name I’ve ever heard!!” They then agree that in a hundred years of sitting around making up names, they will never come up with anything better.

Surely that’s how it happens.

Monday, April 12, 2010

bad dog

I leave tomorrow for Disney World! I’m not planning on doing any posting while there, except for maybe to my Twitter feed. I was hoping to get the Madison Memorial Hospital baby names newspaper insert before I left but that didn’t happen, so it’ll have to wait until I get back. Don’t miss me too much. Put your energy into wishing Jon good luck. He’ll need it for his final exams as well as for healing SINCE HE GOT BITTEN BY A DOG yesterday. Damn thing ran out and grabbed him when we were visiting a property for rent. It’s okay, mom, you’re allowed to swear when your husband GETS BITTEN BY A DOG. And it got him on the skin graft, no less. He was involved in a grain auger accident as a teenager and has this hideous scar where the front of his leg was pulled off then patched up. The skin there is thinner than normal – stretched right across the muscle – and of course that’s where the stupid mutt got him. When he showed the owner (who is also the landlady of the property) what the dog had done, she stared so hard at his scar I thought she was going to pass out. I had to step in and explain that the dog hadn’t done ALL the damage, just the fresh bloody part. And she didn't even apologize! But she DID give us a ride home, so.....that's something, I guess :/ Anyway, we won’t be moving into THAT place.


A couple of puncture wounds and a tear, but since they’re in the skin graft it's sort of a big deal. Gahhh. Hopefully it heals up fine with no complications. The good news is there’s no rabies on the island so if Jon starts foaming at the mouth, it’s for something unrelated to the dog bite.

I'm so sorry this is the image I'm leaving you with for the next nine days.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Aloha oy-vey

To celebrate the countdown to Disney World (4 days!!!), I thought I’d let you all take a glimpse into a past Sweet Family vacation. To Hawaii. I was 15, Annie was 17, and Corinne was 19. Or something like that. It was ill-fated, to say the least. So ill-fated that on the first try, we never even made it out of the airport. In an attempt to save money, it was somehow decided that we’d take a military hop out of Travis Air Force base in northern California. It would be free, but flights aren’t guaranteed so you just sort of have to go there (a four-hour drive for us) and wait around, hoping that a flight will stop by to drop off cargo or refuel on its way to your desired locale. The General factored in a couple of day’s wait time on either end of our trip to account for the uncertainty. Well. It just so happened that this trip coincided with the conflict in Kosovo, and the only planes stopping by were on their way to blah blah blah Not Hawaii. We waited for three days…THREEEE DAYS….for the flight that never came. Instead, we put our tank tops and capris to good use in the bum-fight district of San Francisco. The hotel was a dump, and Corinne got coughed on by a homeless person. But you know, it ended up being a pretty fun trip, despite the dashed hopes and tuberculosis and all. (tangent: My favorite memory from that vacation came from an old homeless man strumming on a out-of-tune guitar near Ghirardelli Square. His shtick was coming up with rhymes for the word “tip”, then singing little ditties about unaware passers-by to solicit money from on-lookers. I was happily tripping along and hopped a curb with a flourish. Then from across the street, I heard a deep voice sing, “skippity skip, have yo mama gimme a tip”. We were so amused that we stood and watched him a while longer. My personal favorite was when he crooned, “Wipin’ yo lip, gimme a tip” as a man walked by, rubbing his face.) Apparently the most memorable parts of this trip all had to do with homeless people. Thanks, President Reagan!

So the first attempt at a Hawaiian family vacation didn’t go as planned. The second attempt came the next year, and SUCCESS! Kind of! We did make it to Hawaii, but we ended up on a slow, windowless cargo plane and rode the entire 7 hours in seats made of cargo netting (not even kidding) with tanks in our laps (only slightly kidding). And THEN, when we got there, it rained. Really hard. As in record rains that caused flooding and mudslides the whole island over. On our third or fourth day, we explained to a nerdy surfer guy that it had so far rained the entire time we’d been there, and he responded “DUDE, that’s a bummer!” Keep in mind this was ten years past 1991, the last year that “dude” and “bummer” were acceptable vernacular. We still repeat it sometimes when we need a laugh. But all the rain and cloudiness was a joy for Annie, who’s allergic to the sun. Not like she was one of those kids on 60 Minutes playing hopscotch in a NASA space suit or anything, but she has to be careful or else she gets blisters. Poor Annie :(

Anyway, hopefully we have better weather in Disney World. All the final things are falling into place for this trip. I’ve got my ride to the airport lined up. Corinne has her supply of antibacterial hand gel. Annie’s already packed her turtlenecks and SPF 1,000 sunscreen. And rumor has it The General just bought his first new pair of swim trunks in 15 years, therefore reducing his chance of being arrested for public indecency at the water park. We’re all relieved. (Jon borrowed the old pair once to wear in the hot tub at Christmas and he would have been better off in white underwear. They were ALMOST as scandalous as the mandatory swim trunks for the pool at BYU-Idaho.) Kthxbai.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

...and then I almost lost bowel control.

We celebrated Easter by attending mass at the Catholic church (don’t look at me like that. We obviously don’t get General Conference on TV here, and we don’t have internet, and even if we DID have internet it wouldn’t be fast enough to stream it anyway). It was our first mass ever. I’m sure I wouldn’t have enjoyed it so much in the States, but the Caribbean flair made it fantastic. We sang beautiful old minor-keyed Catholic carols between upbeat alleluias to the tune of a synthesizer mixing organ sounds with a calliope and steel drums. My favorite part was the fully choreographed musical number put on by about 30 local children. (Obviously this first paragraph had nothing to do with the title. That part starts now.)

Later on we had Easter dinner with friends, and lingered well past dark. As we made our way home, we came to an intersection. We could go home the way we came – about a mile on a narrow, overgrown, disintegrating road – or we could go the long way through town. I was dead set on the long way. In fact, even before we’d left for the party I’d warned Jon that I ABSOLUTELY WOULD NOT make the same walk back in the pitch dark. I’ve seen some of the creatures that come creeping out when the moon comes up, and that overgrown road was sure to be teeming with them. But when we came to the intersection where we had to decide, Jon was reluctant. No matter which way we went, he argued, it would be pitch black. Might as well shorten the trip. I disagreed, and reminded him firmly that I’d already made my decision before we left our house. Then he played his trump card:

He reminded me that this bull lives along the route I wanted to take. We’ve seen him in the same spot three or four times. Have you ever seen anything more fear-inducing?? I’ve pretty much been terrified of bulls ever since that one time, and my fear of encountering this guy in the dark overwhelmed my fear of wading through tarantulas and poisonous centipedes. So I gave in, linked my arm with Jon’s, and we set off into the darkness, the dim glow of our mini-flashlight dancing ahead of us. We made our way to the first crossroads without incident, and turned right for the second leg of the journey.

Then, it happened.

At the absolute narrowest, darkest point in the entire trip – with a tall, vine-covered fence on either side of us, where the road is barely wide enough to allow one vehicle through – Jon’s flashlight suddenly quit bouncing and stood fixed on something in the road just ahead of us. Immediately he grabbed my arm and pulled me behind him, positioning himself between me and the huge, lumbering bull that was coming towards us.

[insert title here]. IMMINENT DEATH. I knew it, and despite what Jon tries to say after the fact, he was pretty sure we were destined to die, too. He was all, “Get behind me!! Stay behind me!!! Whatever happens, I love you!!” (Maybe I threw that last part in, but believe me, he was scared). Meanwhile I’m having what seemed to be bordering on a panic attack. When we explained this story to a friend the day after, Jon goes, “So I’m positioned between the bull and Jessie, and she’s making all these weird noises”. The sound was something like loud, prolonged, repetitive inhaling. Less pronounced than a scream, more pronounced than a gasp. A scrasp, if you will.

Anyway, at this point, it’s only been moments since Jon first caught sight of it. By the time we knew he was there, he must have been only 10 feet from our noses. So Jon pulls me behind him, and I’m noisily panicking, and what do you know, the dumb beast didn’t even glance at us as it walked on by. It passed within three feet of us and just kept on going until it was lost to the darkness. I continued scrasping for another 30 seconds and my heart was still racing fifteen minutes later when we reached our house.

I hope your Easter was happy and not at all scary.