Monthly Archives: October 2011

Halloween parade

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Every year, when Halloween rolls around we all become very excited.  “Halloween is my favorite holiday” the boy said.  “Really?  I would have thought it was Christmas” I responded.  “Mom, Christmas is great too, but Halloween is awesome!  You walk around a neighborhood and everyone gives you a piece of candy–a little present from the world”.  I love his take on Halloween.

The doll loves this time of year too, for different reasons.  She loves dressing up, decorating our picture window and the annual Halloween parade sponsored by our church and various school organizations; which runs down our street and around our neighborhood.  Last year she dressed up, joined the parade and made it half way around before she realized, the kids dressed up on curb, watching the parade go by get all the candy.  This year she walked half-way, then dropped out.  Walking up to me afterward, she said, “Look there really isn’t that much candy is there!”  Laughing I said, Doll you can’t have it both ways.  Be happy you got anything at all.  The boy dressed as Indiana Jones opted out of the parade.  Later when someone asked him what he was dressed as, he replied, “A beggar” lifting his hat to show all the candy inside it.

Friday night the doll and her dad got busy creating their masterpieces.  After she outlined the pumpkin face she went to work crafting her jack-o-lantern.   “I was trying to leave a little peace of an eye…” she began “but, then I accidentally cut it out.  So, I changed my mind.” She said, showing me the pumpkin part she cut out.

In the meantime daddy worked on the floor next to her on his own pumpkin.  The boy, Mr. minimal as he’s known around here, decided the pumpkin looked best uncut.  “Mom, we can just freeze it until next year” he suggested.  Shaking my head I said, “Uh, yeah, that’s not happening!’

When all was said and done, we took the annual Halloween pumpkin picture.  Sadly, something tells me our Halloween traditions are waning; especially when there are cartoons to watch instead of carving pumpkins.  Sigh.

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what I learned on my Bahama vacation….

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Wherever you go while vacationing with family, you’re bound to learn a few things you didn’t know before.  For instance, when it rains in Nassau, the locals refer to the rain as “liquid sunshine”.    Nice spin, huh!  Speaking of spin, traffic circles are what they use  to control traffic instead of lights.  There were plenty of  life and death moments as we maneuvered through them.   Another inconsistency were the  road signs or lack there of;  They seemed to be  optional.  As a result, the maps were rarely correct.   We spent many hours wandering trying to find beaches that simply were not there.  One place we found rather easily however was the Caribbean rum cake factory.  There is a reason rum rhymes with yum!

The doll usually complains whenever we have fish for dinner, yet  she not only tasted but liked  conch fritters.  In all honesty, they were very good.  I thought the appetizer tasted like Thanksgiving dressing, with spice.  The doll disagreed saying “Mom, that dressing is blech…while this is good!!  Well there is no accounting for taste.

Serval cat makes an appearance

We wandered some more until we came upon a zoo and stopped to check out the different animal species they had.  I especially liked the different flowers not found in our area.  The boy wanted me to take a picture of every animal in the joint. When I wouldn’t comply, his grandmother came to the rescue.

On our last full day on the island, the temperature dropped to 78 degrees with 30 mile an hour winds.  We laughed while watching several  locals don their winter coats to combat the wind and cooler temperatures.  We on the other hand walked around in shorts marveling at how different our thresholds for the weather can be.

just a tad bit windy....

Lastly, what we learned on our Bahama adventure was nothing really all that new.  When the doll puts her mind to something like snorkeling;  she’s going snorkeling!  Come hell or tropical depression fueled water.

Mr. Rigid

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The boy has always had a strong black and white personality.  We like to call him Mr. Rigid, because his sense of right and wrong is so strong he rarely leaves any wiggle room.  Take our visit to Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahama’s.

Prior to entering this mega resort, they have restaurants lined up and down encircling a small docking bay that was filled with yachts of varying sizes.  We decided to stop and have pizza for lunch, opting to sit outside-cafe style and enjoy the people watching.  “Boy let’s you and I sneak down there so I can take your picture in front of that yacht–make it look like yours…” I said trying to get him interested.  “Mom, that’s illegal” he replied.  Trying to stifle the laugh I said, “All I want is your picture, not  try to break into the boat”.  Yet he was undeterred.  “No!”  The doll figuring this was just a ploy to embarrass her…opted out as well.

After lunch we decided to walk into the resort and look around.  The boy was very uncomfortable believing  we were trespassing.  Daddy, Uncle E and I walked in like we owned the place.  “What is he doing?” his father asked, when we spotted  the boy talking with one of the security guards.  “Mr. Rigid strikes again!”  A moment later the boy approached us and said, “According to security, we are only allowed to walk on the first floor!” 

Party Pooper!

The first floor contains a casino.  “C’mon doll lets go look around” I prompted.  “Mom, the boy said we’re only allowed on the first floor…and that’s a casino, I’m not old enough to go in there”.  She argued.  “Doll, you’re not allowed to gamble, c’mon, let me get a picture of you under that giant glass ball…”  Reluctantly she wandered in with me.  There a security guard approached her and said, “Your mom can take your picture, just don’t touch any of the slot machines okay?”  Smiling I said, “See!!!” and then snapped the picture.  “Can we go now?” she mumbled clearly annoyed with me.

Daddy and I decided to walk around a little more which clearly annoyed our kids.  The boy was so stringent in his thinking he made his Uncle and Grandmother take him outside to wait for us.  Clearly this boy needs to lighten up–but I don’t see that happening any time soon!

 

 

 

Sure, he says this at 12…..

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October.  Normally when you hear this month, you conjure falling leaves, jack o-lanterns, cooling temperatures; overcast skies; Indian Summers.  We decided to throw a wrench into that belief and traveled south to the Paradise Island, Bahamas for a week of fun, frolic  warm temperatures with  sunny skies.  The weather had other plans.

We did have a bit of fun with the kids as dad and I enjoyed a bit of libation at the pool.  “Boy, here take a sip of this Bahamian beer and tell me what you think” I said sliding the beer towards him.  Shaking his head back and forth he declined.  “I made a promise to my teachers at school that I would never drink alcohol or do drugs, so no thank you.” the boy said. “Oh, c’mon”, I said, “When I was a little girl, my dad gave me sips of his beer.  So as your mom and I’m giving you permission; go ahead and try it” I reiterated  placing the beer directly in front of him.  “No thank you!” he said again getting up from the table and moving away from me, which prompted big smiles between his father and myself. 

Then the doll approached wondering what was going on.  “Hey doll, we’re in a foreign country…here try this beer and tell me what you think” I said handing her the beer.  At first she shook her head no, just like the boy.  But after more prompting from both her parents, she decided what the heck.  She lifted the beer to her mouth, took a very tiny sip then expressed facially her major dislike for the  alcoholic substance.  “Mom, how can you drink that!?” she asked in disgust. 

Her father and I smiled at her reaction before I added, “Well, I suppose it’s what you would call an acquired taste”.  “Well whatever it is, just don’t ever give that to me again, alright?” she said setting the beer down on the table and returning to the pool.

“Well that settles that” dad said as he turned towards me.  “What’s that?” I asked.  Smiling he said,  “More beer for us!”

little surprises

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As our plane touched down in Nassau, Bahamas, the steady stream of rain marked the beginning of our vacation.  Just like when we left our hometown, rain seemed to follow wherever we went.  The difference though was simple.  In Nassau, the rain was warm.

We walked down to the small strip of beach attached to our time share and watched as the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean  ripped upon the shore.  Between the rain, wind and darkening clouds, we decided to settle in first and wait for rain to end.

But the doll had different plans.  She was in her bathing suit and by God that meant she was going swimming.  Into the po0l she went.  In the Bahamas they have a government mandated rule that no child can go into a pool unless accompanied by an adult.  So daddy jumped in, while mom watched them both swim.  The boy shrugged his shoulders and walked back to the condo.  He had a book to read.

While they were swimming, the doll began to shout.  “A frog, I found a frog!!”  Sure enough, there clinging to the side of the pool was a very tiny frog.  After prying the amphibian loose, her father swam over to see.  The frog, scared made a break for it, first jumping onto the doll’s shoulder, then to the back of her head.  The “little guy”, as he became known, then began to climb up her long red hair, searching for a better vantage point.

That’s when daddy came into play.  Pulling “little guy” out of her hair, he did what any father-protecting his daughter would do…he placed him on the top of her head.  Little guy didn’t like to be so high and out in the open; dove back into the pool.  The doll scooped him back up into her hands, cradling the frog while trying to figure out how we could keep him.  “Sorry doll, we can’t bring foreign animals back into our country.  He’ll have to stay here” I said.  Sad and disappointed she left the pool to set the frog free.

Jumping back into the pool she said, “Well that was quite a surprise, don’t ya think?”  “Yes” I replied.  “You know what mom?  I bet that little guy really would have liked to come home with us…” Smiling before I could answer, her father piped in, “Well he did leave you with a present doll…..he pooped on your head!”  Grossed out, under the water she went–wiping off the top of her head.  When she re-emerged she swatted at her dad yelling, “Gross Dad!!”

Gross, but funny.

 

 

everyone’s a comedian…

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“Guess what?” Elle says to me every time she wants to start a conversation with me.  Instead of my usual “What?” response, I said, “A man walks into a bar and sees a giraffe lying on the floor.  He says to the bartender, What’s lyin’ here? The bartender said “That’s not a lion that’s a giraffe!” “No aunt Marsha, I know that joke and it’s not very funny…”  “Oh yeah?  Then Why is six afraid of seven?”  I asked.  Before she could answer the boy piped in from the other room, “Because seven eight (ate) nine!  Mom you need to get some new material, you’re really slipping.”

Elle looked at me and said, “That’s true Aunt Marsha”.  Uh…to be outed by a seven year old!  “Guess what?” she impatiently tried again. “You need a poke in the nose?” I came back.  “No..but Guess…” she tried to say before I interrupted, “You wanna move to the Poconos?”  “NO, but guess what?”  “Alright, alright, what?”  “I forgot, thanks a lot aunt Marsha.”

“Guess what?” I asked Elle, but didn’t get a response.  Hmm…  “Oh, come on, tell you what…you can tell me a silly joke….you got any?”  She thought for a moment and then looked over at the boy and said, “Yes!  I have a good joke.”  The boy entered the kitchen and along with me sat at attention as she told us her joke.  “What goes up and down but never moves?”  The boy and I looked at one another, then back at her. “Well?” she asked again.  “Um, I don’t know.  What does go up and down but never moves?”  “A staircase!” ba dum dum  We all laughed for a bit until both kids became bored by it.  I went back to clearing up some clutter while the boy and Elle walked into the living room.  As they exited the kitchen, the boy leaned down and said, “Elle, any time you need material….just ask me.  I got a million jokes which unlike my mom’s are funny.”

 

 

S-P-E-L-L-I-N-G spells I hate spelling.

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When the doll walked out of school the other day, I noticed the somber look on her face, indicating something was wrong. She made a bee line for me; giving me a hug in such a way as to tell me she was upset. “What’s wrong dolly?” I asked her. “I’ll tell you when we get home” she muttered, but remained hugging me.

“What’s wrong?” I asked her. “Guess what I got on my spelling test?” Ah Spelling; the thorn in her side since she learned to read. “From your reaction, I guess it wasn’t good?” That’s when the tears began to fall… I’m not sure if she was disappointed in herself, or worried that I would yell at her. Either way, I simply hugged her back and used common sense. “I guess that means we both have to work harder at your spelling, huh?” Wiping her eyes on my shirt she agreed.

A few days later she announced, “Mom I don’t have any homework!”. “Really? Where is your spelling book?” I asked. Lowering her shoulders she opened her back pack and retrieved the book. “How about you write each word three times…?” “I already did that.” she said. “Well then how about you write a sentence including each word?” “Mom, I don’t have to do that…” she came back, clearly not wanting to work on her spelling. “Alright then throw a ball in the air and spell all your words…” I said in return.

When she finished minutes later I said to her, let’s do an oral spelling test…” “Why?” she argued. In her defense, her teacher does not assign spelling homework, instead relying on independent study. The doll thought she walked into spelling heaven this year until that test score. “Because you got a bad grade on your last test…” I said in return.

Almost immediately I regretted my words, but the doll surrendered and gave me her spelling book. Then she misspelled several of the words, which upset her greatly. “Honestly, I don’t think you’re paying attention when you practice these words…” I began to say before she interrupted, “Stop it Mom, I do pay attention!” “Doll there are too many distractions here with your cousins. You’re not paying attention to what you’re spelling..” I said while trying to calm her down. Swatting at me she disagreed, saying “I do pay attention, why are you being so mean!” all the while tears rolled down her cheeks.

I hate seeing my daughter in tears… “Doll, you have always had some trouble with spelling, because of your speech impediment.” I began. She didn’t seem to appreciate what I was saying, but I continued. “Remember your speech therapist said you needed to have an operation in order to talk correctly? Well you proved her wrong, right? You proved her wrong how?” “By practicing?” she whimpered back to me. “That’s right. By hard work, determination and practice. So lets show your teacher that spelling test was a fluke by practicing spelling those words over and over, okay?”

When she had calmed down she said, “Mom, now I’m going to pay attention to every letter and write the words out three times okay?” “Okay, just pay attention” I said encouraging her.

Who knew spelling was going to be harder than math?