Thursday, July 30, 2009

Hotel Cinderella--The Encore!

I didn't want to blog about this until we had all the logistics worked out, but we are going to be going on a beach vacation, thanks to Nick, Denise, and Nick's parents! Nick's parents own a home on the seashore and Nick and Denise invited us, and another family we all know, to spend some time with them at the beach. My kids are beyond excited! We are very grateful to Nick's parents, who have never even met us, for letting us stay at their place. We are also grateful to Nick and Denise for putting up with us!

We leave in two weeks, so Denise and I are busy planning meals that we can make, freeze, and take with us. I'm going to start cooking right away, instead of leaving it all until the last minute, like I did last time. :) Well, that is the plan, anyway, whether I achieve it is yet to be seen!

I can't wait for the fun to begin!

A wet, weird weather day!

Yesterday was a really weird weather day. Shauna and I walked out of the house into super bright sunshine all around, but it was starting to rain. We drove about a mile and a half from home and Hannah called to complain that we had left without her. It was a misunderstanding because I thought she didn't want to go to Walmart with us. By this time, it was no longer sunny, the wind was blowing and the rain was coming down in sheets, making it difficult to even see the road. When we got back to the house about 3 minutes later, to pick Hannah up, the rain had stopped and it was semi-sunny again. We headed back towards Walmart and the storm was back in full force! By the time we got close to Walmart (which is only 10 minutes from home), the streets were completely dry and it was hot and sunny!

We only had an hour to shop, so we rushed around the store. As we were finishing up the last aisle, we could hear rain beating down on the roof of the store. When we got to the parking lot, it had stopped raining and was sunny. I commented on how lucky we were that we had missed the downpour. We had about 1/3 of our groceries loaded into the van, when in an instant, we were once again getting poured on. Apparently the storms were following us! We were drenched within a minute, so were the groceries, even inside the bags. We were laughing really hard, as we threw bags into the van, hoping we weren't crushing anything fragile. Water was dripping from my hair and burning my eyes so badly that I could barely see. We got into the van as quickly as we could and it was like a sauna in there. Ugh, being completely drenched and hopping into a hot van are not a good combination.

On a good note, the girls were a huge help in the store and we never could have finished shopping in time, if they hadn't helped out so much. When I would miss something, they would run back together and get it. They helped load the groceries on the belt and they put all the bags into the carts. The cashier even commented about how much help they were. Then she told us that we were the nicest family she had waited on all week!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Here you go, Mikey. The last pictures of Sal's. WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Hummer Wars

A couple of days after we added a second hummingbird feeder to our front porch, we received a new visitor. His name is Black-Headed Meany, aka Redneck, or just plain Black Meany for short! He is a Ruby Throated Hummingbird. He is also a bully. He guards the feeders and beats up anyone else who tries to get a drink. It is fun to watch, but I feel sorry for the hungry little guys who can't get a drink. We have seen him chase away as many as three other birds at the same time and he screams at them and pecks them. I noticed this morning that some of his chest feathers seemed to be partially ripped out. I am wondering if someone gave him a little taste of his own medicine?!?!

Mike, who is the one who named him Black Meany, came up with a humorous solution. He wants to take a badminton racket and line it with a piece of thick Styrofoam. When Black Meany flies into it, his beak will get stuck, sort of like a birdie time out, and he will learn not to pick on other hummingbirds! While the thought of Black Meany sticking out of a badminton racket is pretty funny, I think we need to come up with a better solution than that! For anyone reading this, who doesn't know Mike, he would never harm a hummingbird, so if you hear him say he wants to borrow Steven's slingshot, just ignore it!

I'm going to add a third feeder in the back of the house, so hopefully, the other birds will eat there or Black Meany will move there to guard that one. I was planning to add another one in the back, anyway. Repeat after me, "I'm not obsessed, I'm not obsessed..."!!!

Oh No!

My favorite restaurant burned down last night! I am so upset. I have been having a craving for Sal's, lately, too. Now there is no where to go for delicious, home cooked, dirt cheap Italian food in Williamsburg! I am not happy.

Too bad Jack was off last night. He works right across the street from there and would have been able to see the whole thing.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Swallowing Pills

Does anyone have any great ideas on teaching a kid to swallow pills? I have been working with Hannah for several years on learning to swallow pills. She hasn't had any luck. So far we have been able to get crushable pills and liquid meds. She also is pretty good at chewing pills that are meant to be swallowed, even if they taste horrible. The problem is that now she is on a slow release pill that can't be crushed or chewed.

We've tried practicing with tic tacs and putting it in food. Nothing is working. Today, she tried for so long that the pill ended up mostly dissolved in her mouth. That can't be good! Help!

Hannah's room

We spent the weekend cleaning Hannah's room out. She is getting a full make-over, just like Alex and Shauna did. I am bound and determined that her make-over will take less than six months to a year to complete! Hannah and I cleaned the room on Saturday and Mike took out most of the carpet on Sunday. Then I went back in (with Hannah popping in and out to help) and tackled the closet. That was the worst part because although she had kept the room fairly neat, her cleaning usually consisted of shoving everything into the closet. Hannah is going into 7th grade and I found a bunch of 5th grade stuff, including a petrified school lunch! Let's just say that I took many bags of trash out and leave it at that!

Hopefully, we can start some of the priming this week, while Mike is at work. We already bought the paint and I love the colors. She is going to have most of the room a lightish lime green, with one wall a medium turquoise. I'm sure it will be very pretty once it is done. Her new comforter has bright, colorful stripes, with the wall colors as well as pinks and purples and yellows.

There is so much to be done in this house. It is really overwhelming sometimes!

Friday, July 24, 2009


Well, apparently I haven't posted in a long time! I really thought it had only been a few days, not over a week. Time flies when you are busy! I'm still working on getting the California pictures off of Mike's computer and onto mine. I will post those as soon as I can, before I forget or just decide to blow it off.

Mike worked in Richmond last week, which meant we were, once again, a 'normal' family, with Daddy coming home every night! That was nice, although he can be annoying! I'm saying that because he has been making fun of my hummingbirds. More specifically, he is making fun of my fascination with the hummingbirds. The funny part is that he is just as fascinated, but won't admit it. He has been out there watching them more than I have and he comes in and reports what he sees! It is kind of the like the Facebook issue we had, where he got mad at me for making him one and now he is obsessed with it. He needs to learn that I am always right about things and he just needs to go along with whatever I suggest and he will learn to love it!!!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Quote of the day

"I got the part of Rusty Charlie in Guys and Dolls."--Alex

"I hope you aren't biting off more than you can chew again."--Me (He is also doing four nights of voice and dance classes a week, Shakespeare Camp, and he is playing Daddy Warbucks in Annie and he is in Aida, plus he has drama classes once a week.)

"I'm not biting it, Naomi is!"--Alex (Naomi is his director. She came up to him last week and said, "You are playing Daddy Warbucks."

Quickie Blog

I'm really tired, but don't want to get yelled at by "certain people" who shall remain nameless, so I'm going to do a quickie blog. I am really, really tired today, but feeling happy to be home. CUP has the stomach flu, ugh. I'm hoping no one else gets it.

I got to go to Alex's voice lesson today and I talked to his voice teacher. He is doing very well and his teacher is impressed with his attitude and the way he gives "1000%" whenever he is asked to try something new. I was amazed at how much he learned and improved, just over the course of the half hour lesson. His teacher really knows what he is doing.

Hannah went to a friend's house for the day (as usual, since she can't stand being home for even two minutes!). I spent much of the day just talking with the remaining kids, especially Alex and Shauna. I told them all about California and they all (except for CUP) really want to go with me next time. That will be quite a feat to pull off. Mike will have to travel everyday for two years to get enough frequent flyer miles for all of us to fly for free! We had a good time catching up.

We watched home videos from when the kids were little. They were so cute! We watched one from 9 years ago, just before we moved to VA. We had a birthday party for Steven at our old roller rink. They made fun of my skating ability, or should I say lack thereof, and of my haircut. Shauna kept saying that she can't believe that 9 years later, I still have the exact same haircut! They couldn't believe how skinny Mike was then. They were fascinated by how much nicer and more fun he was. I think we might have to make him watch it so he can remember what he was like before he got "cranky"!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

California Update

I have been blogging, but I haven't been successful in loading the pictures to go with the blog posts. I am saving them and as soon as I get home and can load the pictures, I will post them. The trip is going great and while in one way I'm glad to be leaving tonight and getting home tomorrow, I also wish I could stay. I will miss Mikey, but he will be home on Saturday, so that isn't too bad. I may not get back to California and I really love it here, so I hate to leave! I'm hoping that the bad weather in the middle part of the country doesn't cause any flight delays. I already have a 3 hour layover in San Francisco, which is going to suck!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Spot

This is the scenic view where we saw our first California sunset together. We went back again tonight. It was still really pretty, with some of the same flowers as last time, but also a lot of different ones now blooming. In March, the sunset was a lot further out over the ocean than it was tonight.

Various views of Southern California

We couldn't resist snapping this one, since gas prices were only $2.33 in Virginia when I left! We actually saw one gas station that was charging $3.19 a gallon.

I think this was Dana Point, CA

I think I posted a picture of this same view last time I went to CA, but I couldn't resist doing it again. This is so pretty and my new camera takes much better pictures!

Somewhere in or near Laguna Beach, CA

Huntington Beach, California

Pier View, the red roofed building at the end is Ruby's Diner, the restaurant where we ate dinner.

The Orange County Fair was starting the next day and those are bleachers set up on the left of the picture. Must be planning a surfing competition.

One of the beautiful views from the pier.

Inside Ruby's "Surf City"

Mikey and Pelly

Pelly's close-up

The mini shark that someone who was fishing off the pier caught.

Friday, July 10, 2009

What is the opposite of Hotel Cinderella?

I made it to California! I am loving it! It is so beautiful here and the weather is perfect. I am jealous of the people who get to live here!

The trip here was long, but pleasant and easy. I got up at 2:45 am on Thursday morning and headed out from the airport in Richmond. I didn't allow a ton of extra time between airport arrival and flight time (about an hour) because Richmond is never crowded that early and I usually zip through everything. Well, not this time! I had to wait a little while at check in because they only had two agents. One was checking in a soldier who was going out of the country and the other was dealing with some baggage issue, so I waited. Then I got to security, which had only a short line. I still had plenty of time. Then the guy, two ahead of me, at the x-ray machine brought everything to a complete halt. Suddenly, all the conveyor belts stopped running, a page went out, and extra security guards and police officers rushed over. Two guards stood in front of each people-checking entrance and at least one stood at each line of people. Two to three stood at each bag-checking x-ray. Ugh! No one said a word, complete silence. The only people doing anything were the four guards and police officers who had crowded around the carry on x-ray in my line. They were pointing and whispering. After a few minutes of this, the guy at the front of my line said, "They are only rocks. I have rocks in three bags. All they are is rocks. If you want me to open them and show you, that isn't a problem. They are only rocks." They ignored him and continued to point and whisper. After a few more minutes, they called the guy over and hustled him and his bags to somewhere in the back, under heavy security. I never did see what happened to the poor guy! Now everyone was still standing around, apparently they had to wait for an all clear sign to begin scanning again. Luckily we didn't have to wait too long, only a few more minutes. Altogether, we probably waited about 10 minutes, but it seemed much longer. I got to my gate in plenty of time before boarding started.

I had to take a short flight to DC and then get a flight to San Francisco from there. The flights were all on time and went well. I don't like flying too much, not because I'm afraid or anything, but because I don't do it often. I always feel like everyone else knows what they are doing (and most of them do!) and I'm just a dummy. For instance, I have never been able to recline my seat. Never. I just can never figure out how to do it and I'm too shy and embarrassed to ask. This time, when I was on the flight from DC to San Francisco, I decided that I had to recline it so I could be comfortable, since this was a LONG flight. I debated in my mind for about a half hour before I finally asked the flight attendant how to do it. Yay! I finally know how to recline the airplane seat!

Then I had to use the restroom on the plane. Normally, I go just before getting on and right when I get off the plane, but this time I really wanted to get up and stretch my legs. I always worry about blood clots. Anyway, the restroom was in the middle of the plane, with seats in front of it and behind it. At first, I wasn't even sure if it was the restroom, since there were no signs. They always have a sign that says Lavatory. Not this one. So I found what I assumed was the lav and tried to figure out if anyone was in there and how to open the door. There was no occupied sign or anything, just a very small, oval shaped thingee that had a tiny red dash on it. What does that mean? Is this even the restroom? I walked to both sides of the assumed restroom and looked for a sign. Nothing. I pushed the door where it said push. Nothing happened. Was this a closet? Was I supposed to be pushing it? In the meantime, everyone seated in the seats near the restroom has stopped what they are doing to stare at me. Or at least I feel like they have. Two flight attendants are bustling around right next to me because that is where the "kitchen" is. You would think they would have seen my confusion and offered to help, but no. Finally, after trying the door several times and not getting it to budge, I decided to ask. The flight attendant looked at me like I was a complete moron. She said it was the lavatory and it was occupied. Okay, well at least I know I'm in the right place, now I just have to wait until it opens. Finally it opened and an elderly woman came out. I wondered if she had had a problem finding it, too. I went in and even a dummy like me was able to find the toilet. After washing and drying my hands, however, I couldn't figure out where to throw the paper towel. There was one tiny door that said, "no cigarettes" and another one that said something else, which I can't remember now, but had nothing to do with paper towels. I looked around for a few more seconds and decided to try the no cigarette door. There were other paper towels in it, so either everyone had it wrong or I had broken the secret code! I left the restroom, red-faced, hoping that everyone around me had forgotten what a fool I had made of myself before going in! At least my seat was rows in front of it, so no one around me had witnessed that fiasco. I felt like I had a big neon green colored sticker on me that read, "Stay at home mom, no travel experience, please excuse her stupidity"!!

So somehow, even with all of my airline ineptness, I managed to make it to California, on time and happy! The day was long, I arrived about 15 hours after getting up, but it actually went by pretty quickly. I attribute that to the fact that I had a lot of plane changes and didn't have to wait in any one place for too long. I arrived to a husband who was very happy that I was here, too, so that helped as well. I especially enjoyed the layover in San Francisco. That airport has a beautiful view out every window. The terminal I was in was like a peninsula, with glass on three of the side. There were views of mountains and water and a pretty bridge.

The hotel is really, really nice! It is a suite, with a living room, small kitchenette area and a bedroom. We have a decent view of mountains (hills maybe?). Last night we went out to eat at Ruby's Diner in Huntington Beach. It is way out on a long pier. Mike claims it is about a quarter mile out, but I think it is more like 1-10 miles! It was fun to walk it, though, people were fishing on both sides and one guy even had caught a small shark that he was showing to everyone. The beach was beautiful and the waves were big, so there were tons of surfers.

We had a delicious dinner with entertainment. There was a pelican preening just outside our ocean view window! He was so cute. A lot of people kept gathering around him for pictures and he didn't even notice them. I have pictures, but I have to wait until to tonight, when I have Mike's computer, to upload them. We also got to see tons of dolphins swimming by, which reminded me of The Outer Banks in North Carolina.

After a great night's rest, on a very comfortable bed, we went down to breakfast at 6:00. They have a full breakfast here, so I had french toast, bacon and a delicious juice mixture. I also grabbed a bowl of fresh fruit and some yogurt to take up to the room for lunch. After Mike left for work, I relaxed with my crocheting, in front of Good Morning America. I love that show, but rarely get to see it now that my kids are older and I can sleep in. Then I took a four hour nap (I guess I was more tired than I thought after the long day yesterday!), showered and headed down to the computer. After this, I plan to head to the pool and relax on the sundeck!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


At this time tomorrow I will be in Southern California! I can't wait! First I have to travel all day, which will not be fun. I leave the house at 4:30 am and arrive in California at 5:30 pm my time, 2:30 Cali time. I have layovers in DC and San Francisco. I've never flown to SF before, so at least I will experience a new airport. Too bad I won't see any of the city. Hopefully, I will be able to blog from the hotel. I'm pretty sure they have computers that the guests can use and I will have access to Mike's computer, as well.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Quote of the day

"If you come over and I jump up to get you something out of the fridge, it isn't because I'm polite, it's because I have science projects growing in there!"--A good friend, who shall remain nameless (it isn't Denise!!!) I just loved it when she said this!

Getting ready for California!

I'm busy packing and preparing the house for my trip. I can't wait to leave! Not that I want to get away from the kids (I really don't), but I am so looking forward to being in California again. I love to spend time with Mikey and spending it in my favorite place is even better!

I'm not going to stress myself with doing a bunch of cooking before I leave. I feel a bit guilty about that, but Janine will be here to help. Also, Hannah told me that part of the fun when I went to Las Vegas last January was all of the kids pitching in to cook dinners. CUP was supposed to do the cooking, but he told the kids they had to do it! That worked out, though, because they had a great time. I called at one point and they were all working together to make grilled cheese, which they claimed was better than mine! Now my plan is to go grocery shopping and get them the supplies they will need to make some simple meals themselves.

I'm off to finish making the hummingbird food for when I'm gone. I will miss those birds!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Steven's fashion statement

Steven chillin'

A close up of his Ghostbusters Belt. This belt used to be Drew's when he was 3 or 4 years old. I can't believe it fits Steven!

Shauna's New Bedroom

Shauna in her new bedroom.

Daddy and Shauna

Hannah and Shauna

The closet and alcove side of Shauna's room

Hotel Cinderella Pictures


Naked Macaroni and Cheese

Naked Baseball (and you thought I was exaggerating!)

GracieGirl swimming all by herself!

Alex, who made the macaroni and cheese, but was NOT naked!

JJ swimming

Alex and his little buddy, E

One of the few pictures where E actually has clothes on!


I'm so excited! I'm going to California with Mikey again! He, once again, has to go for two weeks, so I am going to join him for part of the time. I will be leaving here on July 9th and getting home on July 15th. We are staying at a really nice hotel and I'm looking forward to relaxing, spending some time with Mikey, and just enjoying the beautiful California landscape.

Janine, CUP's wonderful girlfriend, is going to come down and help CUP with the kids while I'm gone. The kids are so excited about that! They love Janine and it will make my leaving easier on them. Hannah, especially, has a hard time when I'm gone. She behaves well, but she cries a lot because she misses me.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Welcome to the Hotel Cinderella

"Cobwebs on the ceiling, an appalling lack of ice.
Denise said, "We are all just prisoners here. Did you bring some rice?
And in the guest room chambers, you can really feel the heat.
If you're too tired to climb the stairs, you can use the seat!
Welcome to the Hotel Cinderella..."--(sung to the tune of Hotel California)

Last week we took a trip to PA to help my friend, Denise, with the kids while her hubby and oldest son were attending Creation '09. Wow, what a trip that was! It was a lot of fun, Denise and I laughed a whole lot. The kids had a great time and I was very proud of Alex, Hannah, and Shauna, as they really pitched in and helped with the younger kids, the housework, and the cooking. It was also a lot of work and sort of gross at times, but that all somehow contributed to the fun. What follows is my account of the week. Everything I'm about to tell you is true. Seriously, this all really happened!

This was no ordinary hotel that we stayed at, this really was the Hotel Cinderella! First of all, they had no air conditioning, which I already mentioned in another post, but I will go over it again. The a/c broke the day before we arrived. I got a message on my cell phone, when we were about 30 minutes from arrival, telling me that I might want to turn around because the air was broken and wasn't going to be fixed until at least the next day. Since it was a little too late to turn back, we pushed on and got there just in time for our 3 pm check-in time.

At check-in, we were informed that a neighbor would be over, any minute, with some fans for us to use until the a/c was fixed. Being the fan obsessed person that I am, I had actually brought two fans with me. I think those were the first things we unpacked from the van. We all crowded around my little 8 or 9 inch fan, while we waited for the neighbor to bring his fans over. A few hours later, just as I was about to pass out from heat exhaustion, the fan-guy finally arrived. With him came two box fans, apparently manufactured in the 1940's. They were complete with layer upon layer of dirt, dust, and grime, all of which promptly blew into our faces and around the room as he plugged them in and turned them on. After we rubbed our eyes enough to actually see again, we promptly noticed that these fans had none of the safety features of today's fans. For example, the grates on the fans, even in the spots where they weren't broken off, certainly didn't meet any safety standards. In fact, not only could adult fingers be easily inserted, entire little hands would fit through, as well. Hmmm, this was going to be very interesting. We needed to use the fans, as we were melting from the heat, but we really weren't in the mood to pack tiny amputated fingers in ice, for transport to the nearest emergency room. Oh, wait, I forgot, they don't HAVE any ice at The Hotel Cinderella!

A few minutes after check-in, after I had unpacked all of the meals and other food supplies that I had brought and was still waiting for the relief of the fans, I was informed that the Hotel occupants were hungry! Good thing I had a dinner already prepared, that didn't need to be heated in the oven. We enjoyed our pulled pork sandwiches, as rivulets of sweat ran down our feverish cheeks.

Oh, I just remembered! Immediately upon check-in, I was informed that Nick had taken ALL of the chocolate with him. Are you kidding me? No fans AND no chocolate? I thought this was supposed to be a 5 star hotel!

As I prepared to retire to my stifling hot guest room, (the one that didn't have clean sheets on the bed), I went into the guest bathroom. My visit to the guest bath followed the visit of a 4 year old hotel occupant. I was delighted to find that not only did I have to bring my own toilet paper over 300 miles, but my tiny bathroom was fully equipped with a large puddle of urine on the floor! Yep, every traveler's fondest wish, the privilege of cleaning up a puddle of pee left by a 4 year old (girl by the way!) who apparently has a few aim issues. There was also pee all over the toilet seat. Oh, hold on, it gets even better than this. After I finished cleaning up the pee, brushing my teeth and putting on my nightgown, I sat down on the toilet. So far, so good...I finished, pulled up my undies and realized that I felt wet! Ugh, The Hotel Cinderella has a cushy toilet seat. Apparently, Mr. Cushy Seat had absorbed some of the pee and decided to release it when I sat down! This was the icing on the cake. Not only did I have sweat running down my back and legs, but now I had an, oh so lovely, ring of toddler pee on my behind!

Speaking of pee, one of the hotel occupants is being potty trained. Apparently part of the training involves him picking up the full potty and flinging it and the contents across the room. So, not only was I cleaning up pee and sitting in pee, I was also getting pee pee showers. And just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I was expected to cheer and clap for the little Potty Chair Flinger!

Things got a little better as we began to get accustomed to the heat. We hung out on the deck, while the kids swam in the pool. We waited most of the day for the a/c repairman. We were starting to get worried and thinking we would have to spend another hot, sweaty night without a/c, when he finally showed up. Luckily, he was able to fix it rather quickly. The only problem was that while he fixed the a/c in most of the house, for some reason, it STILL wasn't working in the guest room! So the guests at The Hotel Cinderella spent yet another night without a/c. Did I mention that they had no ice and no chocolate at this hotel? Don't worry, though, they had an abundance of old, dirty, broken fans! Oh, and did I mention that in addition to no ice and no fans, we had to drink our warm lemonade out of Elmo cups and sugar containers?

So, let's see, what are some of the other highlights of this hotel? Oh, I know, we brought our own cereal, but there was no milk at the hotel. The hotel has Christmas lights on the tree in the front yard, even though it is June. The house across the street, not to be outdone, also has Christmas lights on their bush. They even appeared to be blinking, although I couldn't be sure because the window was covered with grime from the fans! Some of the things the hotel management expected the guests to do: bring food, do all the cooking and serve all the meals, clean up after all the meals, bring their own ice, make two gallons of lemonade per day, bring their own booze (which the adult guest REALLY, REALLY needed, but had to drink warm because of the no ice fiasco!), bring their own paper supplies, including paper towels and toilet paper, clean the house, supervise the kids in the pool, re-set blown circuits, fix air vents, and many other things, too numerous to mention.

Of course, I haven't mentioned the hotel amenities, have I? Well, ummm, hmmm. Oh wait, I know! They had clean towels for the guests! Of course, the guests had to get the unfolded towels out of laundry baskets, but at least they were clean. Oh, and there is the roller coaster attraction. Well, it isn't actually a roller coaster, but they do have a lift chair to ride up and down the stairs. There is a pool at this hotel, but the guests had to clean it themselves. By the way, Alex thinks the hotel management should invest some of their hotel profits into a skimmer with a long handle, since the small butterfly net he was forced to use wasn't very efficient! I mustn't forget the poolside entertainment. Yes, People, we had box seats at a naked baseball game! It doesn't get better than that. The pitcher and the batter were both completely naked. Luckily, the batter wore a football helmet because the pitcher's ball throwing aim was about as accurate as her peeing aim!

And then there was the sight seeing! Yep, I got to see the pig-hating next door neighbors having dinner on their deck. That was quite interesting, as the three of them said not one word to each other during the dinner. I guess they care for each other about as much as they care for Denise and Nick's pot bellied pigs! We also got to tour four thrift stores and the local Giant grocery store. Talk about excitement. The highlight of the thrift store rounds must have been the lady trying to fit her huge shopping cart into the 2 foot by 2 foot dressing room! Or was it the lady in the Mennonite thrift store that was giving me dagger looks for entering the aisle that she was already in? Or could it have been the barefooted, dirty faced little brats who were running around the toy section, hitting each other and anyone else who got near with pretend swords while their chain smoking mom screamed at them from several aisles away? Okay, that was an exaggeration. The mom wasn't actually smoking in the store, but since I could smell cigarettes on her from across the store, I'm sure she would have been chain smoking if it was allowed!

Quotes of the trip:

"I put my googles on and tooted and pooped in the family room!"--and unprompted confession by 2 year old, E.

Denise: "What happened to your eye?" (while noticing a scrape under E's eye)
"Alex hit me!"--E (Alex was downstairs helping to cook dinner when it happened!)

I almost forgot about the night that I went up to bed, only to hear Denise calling me from downstairs, "Michelle, there is a huge puddle of pee in the middle of the kitchen floor. Would you please clean it up?" What hotel guest wouldn't want to hear that? I was also told by the same proprietress that I needed to do all the dishes before retiring to my still hot as Hades room! Did I mention that one morning I had to take a cold shower because three of the hotel occupants decided to take a marathon shower together and use up ALL of the hot water? Of course, that wasn't such a bad thing, since I had spent the entire night sweating anyway! And one last thing, I brought the first-ever harvested zucchini from my beloved garden and it was used as a microphone by tiny hotel occupants who obsessively sang, "The Ebay Song" over and over and over and over and...

Now my story has finally been told. I would have told it while I was still at the hotel, but I had trouble getting any computer time (as evidenced in this post) and I was afraid of repercussions. Looking back on it, though, I'm not quite sure what repercussions I was worried about. After all, there is NO WAY they could have possibly done anything to make this hotel worse than it already was!!!! All kidding aside, we really did have a GREAT time! Denise, don't listen to what "they" say, you are the best hostess ever!