Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Pit of Despair is filled with socks....

Can small tiny little things really plunge you into a pit of despair?

I am living proof that yes they can. (or at least the little things can throw me in the pit)

It snuck up on me.  I wasn't expecting it at all.  It was an ordinary day that began in an ordinary way.  Tyce climbed on my head around 6am like usual and woke me up from one of my odd dreams.  This one happened to be about men in tuxedos who were really sharks - like the fish shark.  Once they walked down the steps and into the water they sported fins and gills.  One even tried to take a bite out of my calf!  Anyways....  He continued to talk non-stop about me making him snake cages and catching frogs while he snuggled my head until he declared that his pee had to "hatch"!  By the time I got in the shower Lola had also joined in on the non-stop chatter.  While her brother talked about the frogs that would hop all over the house in the summer she talked about what dress she wanted to wear to school and her friends.

I dressed, got myself presentable, made my bed, and went downstairs to make breakfast for the kids before the bus came.  While bending over to feed the dog, I noticed my socks.  They didn't look like my typical socks.  How had I not noticed them earlier.  Maybe it was the constant calling that was coming from below me begging me for food!

It was the pair of socks that ended up on my feet that morning that pushed me over the edge.  Why you ask?  The socks I had on were my 9 year old son, Jackson's socks!  Since when could I wear his socks?  My heels were even in the right spot!  Why would that send me into a pit of despair?  My baby is getting big which means I am getting old!  My son and I can wear the same socks!  How did that happen???

Ugh.  There is no denying it now.  My child is big enough to wear my socks and I have gotten old without realizing it!  Me - Pit........ boo!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just When I Thought I was Ms. Popular...

I can freely admit that I love attention.  I love to be the center of attention from time to time and don't mind having all eyes on me (unless of course it is an embarrassing situation..)  So yesterday I was pretty excited about all of the attention I was getting! :)

Tyce and I took to the schools and went and volunteered in his siblings' classrooms for the morning.  I love doing this, but towards the end of the two hours it gets hard to read with five year olds when you have a four year old hanging on your neck for 20 minutes asking when we can go home!  I love knowing the kids' names and having them so excited to see me as it means a special one on one time!  Even attention from little ones is adored by me!

After a quick run to the grocery store, my niece was dropped off for the day.  She was sick and couldn't go to her normal care provider.  This is another reason I am thankful to be home and available!  She is such a sweetie and even with a double ear infection she was very mellow.  I had a day of snuggles and snot.  (the snuggles totally outweigh the snot!)  So I had tons of quiet attention from her, not to mention her parents trusting me enough to care for her in their absence.  I was feeling pretty puffed up for a Monday!

Just as the baby was settling in for a restless nap my phone started dinging meaning I was getting emails.  More attention!  At first I thought - wow!  I am super popular today!  Lucky me - wait -  the dings kept happening - That can't be good.  Then I thought that my phone had some alarm going off on it because it was dinging so much and at regular intervals! 

I had over 100 non-deliverable emails (guess I need to do some cleaning of my contact list) being sent back to me and emails from friends saying that my account had been hacked!  Awesome!  I guess I was popular but in a bad way.  That negative attention didn't damper my spirit however!  Some more snuggles with my niece and then more when the kids came home and the dog following me around and I was all set!  Guess it doesn't take much to make me feel like the center of the world!

Friday, February 24, 2012

One Child's Treasure.... all kinds of ick!

Having children guarantees you will sometimes have to suppress your instincts and try to go with the flow.

Yesterday the boys asked to go explore the field behind our house.  I was happy to encourage this as the alternative was for them to continue to run around and rough house inside!  Having four boys and the dog all running and screaming around me wasn't all that appealing! (no - we haven't added more children = friends were over - I'm not completely insane - yet...)  So they geared up in hats and boots and marched outside.

A little while later in a rush of mud and squeals they stormed through the door!  Something was pushed up to my nose before I could focus on what was happening.  As I tried to focus on one piece of chaos at a time I realized that I was nose to nose with a skull!

Yes, the boys found bones in the field, carried them home, and presented them to me.  Lovely!  This is a time to suppress that first instinct.  The skull was carefully placed in the garage with the other bones.  The boys were instructed to wash their hands and to be sure they had on gloves when they went out to the field again and they were instructed not to touch anything that looked close to alive. (the bones were picked clean thank goodness!)  Did I want them to continue to bring home bones?  Nope.  But I didn't want them to stay inside either!  It was a good learning experience right? 

We later found that the skull belonged to a feral hog.  Apparently, these hogs are causing a lot of problems in Michigan and will continue to as they can reproduce like nobodies business!  We are talking 2 liters of about 5 swine a year and they start reproducing before they hit 9 months old! I'm surprised we haven't seen any evidence of them up until now!

The skull is now packed in a bag sitting on my counter with the intent of it going to school.  Unfortunately, we have a snow day today so there it sits.  The gut instincts I have are officially being suppressed in favor of encouraging exploration and learning.  (for a few minutes longer anyways...)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Cat Came Back!

Growing up we always sang in the car.  It stared off with my Mom and Dad putting in a cassette tape of one of their favorite groups.  We listened to Beach Boys, Air Supply, and Chicago just to name a few.  As kids we heard the tapes so many times that we could tell you the complete order of each of them!  As we got older we wanted to listen to our own music so we soon had our own cassette decks with ear phones.  You know the foam earphones?  I think they were orange on the end.  Anyways, that didn't work out too well... 

I have two sisters and we all wanted to listen to our songs. We would sit in the car and one of us would start to sing.  The other two girls didn't like being able to hear a sister singing over their music so before you knew it all three of us were singing a different song.  Because no one wanted to be able to to hear anyone else we all began to sing louder and louder and louder until my parents couldn't take it any longer and demanded we all turn off our music!

I was reminded of this the other day as I traveled with my three children and their grandparents in the van.  Grandma and Grandpa have a special CD they play for the kids.  It has classic songs on it that most children learn.  There are other songs on the CD that I have never heard before, but the kids and Grandma and Grandpa know all of the words!  In fact, the CD is so popular with Grandma and Grandpa that all of their friends know and sing the songs too!  These are not new songs.  Many of them were written a long time ago and some of them are even remade.  My kids love The Cat Came Back.  That one is definitly a favorite for everyone!  We heard it sung by many while we were in Naples!  In fact, this one is so popular that Ryan happened to hear a very similar version of the song which is meant for adults:  The @#%# Came Back.

I now can't get the tune out of my head and can't stop laughing about it because so many adults are now singing it - the kid version not the adult version!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

It Works! Wednesday - Network Marketing Criteria

Harvard Business School Network Marketing Criteria

Read This Before You Start Your Home Business
A high percentage of work from home opportunities are in network marketing. Most home based businesses fail for a variety of reasons, none more critical than getting in at the wrong time in the company's life cycle.  Here are some important things to know before you venture into this type of home business.

Network Marketing or Multi Level Marketing (MLM) is being taught at more than 200 colleges including Harvard Business School. After extensive research into the network marketing industry, Harvard Business School developed 3 criteria that a network marketing company must have in order to make it a desirable opportunity. They are:

1. The company must be at least 18 months old. 90% of all network marketing companies that fail do so in the first 18 months of operations. Lack of adequate financing and inexperienced senior management are two of the more common pitfalls of start up companies so be sure to find out what you can about the MLM's funding and management.

2. The company must have a product that is both unique and highly consumable. Meaning it must be an exclusive product that can be purchased only from your distributors with repeated sales thereby guaranteeing customer loyalty versus a one-time sale and having to locate new customers.

3. It needs to be a "ground floor" opportunity. Harvard Business School suggests that in order for the opportunity to qualify as a ground floor type, the number of existing distributorships should be less than ½ of 1% in the country where this network company exists. In the U.S., this figure is equal to 1.5 million people. Harvard Business School also stated that if there were less than 500, 000 people involved, you would be on the cutting edge of a great opportunity. If the company has less than 100, 000 distributors, Harvard Business School considers it to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The Harvard Business School study also stated that there are 4 distinct stages of growth in a network marketing company - Foundation, Concentration, Momentum, and Stability. The Momentum Phase is when the company experiences phenomenal growth. Both retail and distributorships explode in terms of expanding growth. It is during this period that the company virtually sweeps the nation. When a company's sales reach about 50 million annually (4.2 million a month), they reach what is called "critical mass" (sales go vertical right off the graph). Let's assume you have an organization which is producing an override bonus check to you of $1, 000 per month. When the company reached critical mass, distributors almost automatically experience a ten-fold increase in their earnings. In other words, $1, 000 per month becomes $10, 000 per month. This is the reason for getting involved on the ground floor, so you will experience the benefits of explosive growth.

It Works Global has $50 Million in Sales...We are debt free and we have less than 100,000 Distributors as well as meet each of the statements above. Now is the


What do you get when you fill a room with three energetic children, about 8 adults over 55, and whoopie cushions?

It's not a trick question or a joke.  It is just a day in my life. :)

While we were in Florida, we celebrated Jackson's birthday.  Grandma and Grandpa invited friends over during their normal happy hour for cake and ice cream.  One of the friends gave each of the children a good old fashioned whoopie cushion.

My children had never seen one before so after it was blown up and the first volunteer sat on it, well..... let's just say there was no going back!  I can't begin to describe the eyes that lit up, the huge smiles, the belly laughs, and the excitement that was displayed!  And that was by the 55+ crowd! 

Tyce went from victim to victim and gave them orders.  "Stand up.  Close your eyes.  Sit down."  Being the good sports that they were, each person acted surprised and embarrassed and Tyce laughed just as hard the first time as he did the 43rd time!  This made everyone laugh even harder as we watched his reaction!

I guess the moral of the story is that no matter what our age we can all be easily entertained! 
I like this last one because of how hard Jackson is laughing.  Tyce was expecting to sit on a whoopie cushion!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

See You Later Alligator!

I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not, but my children don't seem to fear much.  I try not to be too skidish with insects and other creatures, but I can't even stand the thought of a snake (my hair just stood up on end right now) and all three of my kids will try to catch them and snuggle with them!  This holds true for any living creature, actually I should say that it holds true for any creature - the kids are ok if they are dead as well!  It seems that the creepier the creature, the more hugs my kids want to give it! (I haven't figured out if this is because they want to turn my hair grey or because that is just how they are!)

While we were in Naples, Florida we were able to get up close and personal with an animal that I would not consider snuggly or cute, but if you ask Lola she will tell you that it is super cute!  Tyce wanted to bring one home as a pet with him!  I am talking about alligators.

A snake
Our first encounter was off a road in the Everglades where there was a bridge and a kind of a look out.  We saw two alligators milling about at a respectable distance.  We also saw snakes, frogs, turtles, fish, and birds, but the alligators were the most popular of the bunch!  That same day we took an airboat tour of the Everglades.  I would highly recommend this adventure!  We went skidding through the marsh past the mangroves and stopped to get up close to the "cute" seven foot alligators basking in the sun!  Our guide at Wooten's Everglade Tours was Dwayne Daniels who grew up in the area and was very familiar with alligators.  In fact, two weeks earlier he had been deemed a local hero for saving a 90 year old woman during an alligator attack!  He was also able to share many facts about the animals and the area with us.  I can't remember how many alligators we saw, but that is a good indication that there were a lot of them!  Dwayne even offered to help Ryan by getting rid of me in the Everglades so he could collect the insurance money! ha ha ha!  Fortunately for him, he made up for by having me be the co-pilot! :) 

We all loved the airboat adventure and the kids didn't want to stop talking about the alligators and when we could see more!  So, a few days later we went to Tin City.  Tin City is in Naples and contains around 30 boutiques, some restuarants, and boating adventures.  We went in a few of the shops (which were super cute by the way and I wished we had more times and less little hands) and ate at Pincher's Crab Shack which has fantastic food!  Jackson had an entire plate of crab legs and we all tried "gator bites".  Yes, we are very well rounded!  We love on the alligators and then eat them.  Tyce said they tasted like chicken nuggets!
Gator Nuggets!  Not sure if someone took Tyce's!

Yes, he ate it all!

We thought this was the closest we would get to a gator...
Anyways, in Tin City we met Gatorman Mike who sells alligator hugs!  He had two baby gators with him who were about 2 feet and 4 feet long.  He held one on his lap while the kids pet the gator, Baby Bobby, and educated us on alligators.  He also was very informative and the children were in awe.  I wish I could tell you all that he told us about the alligator, but my attention was on the gator that was behind a desk, sitting on a pillow, free to roam around the room!  (and no longer muzzled) Gatorman Mike may feel comfortable having gators as pets, but after seeing all of those teeth I was a bit hesitant!  We all gave the smallest of the two gators hugs and Tyce didn't want to give him up!  He actually rubbed his cheek on the reptile like it was a puppy!  He wanted to bring that gator home with a passion!  I'm glad that bringing an alligator across state lines is illegal!  Even I took a turn holding the gator.  As I did I felt the hair on my neck stand up!  His skin was a little too close to snake skin for my liking and he was a little too close to me period!  He was a nice gator though I do have to say that!  No one lost a finger and Grandma even gave him a kiss!  I think it was a high light of the trip for the kids!  I know I have never done anything like that before so if you get a chance, check it out!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Family Vacations - always a gamble!

When you venture away from your home for a vacation it can be a gamble.  Will you have good weather?  Will your accommodations be clean, comfortable, and affordable?  Will you be able find good food to eat?  Will everyone have fun?  Will you be able to relax and not be too stressed out about keeping everyone happy?  Will there be crowds of people to worry about?  The list can go on and on and on!

Recently, we took a "work vacation" with the children.  I call it a "work vacation" because we both did business while we were away, but mostly played.  We went to Naples Florida for part of our "work vacation" and to the Tampa area for the other part.

We took a gamble bringing the children on a plane and with our accommodations, but I have to say that it was a fantastic trip and I can't wait to go back!

The plane ride with children is pretty self explanatory!  I do think (I'm knocking on wood at this moment in time because I may be jinxing myself right now) that we are over the worst of flying with kids.  Our three little ones did amazing on the flights from Michigan to Florida!  I was well prepared, but they were able to entertain themselves and instead of getting off of the plane feeling like I had just preformed a juggling act for 2 hours straight I was surprisingly feeling serene!  What a relief!  That definitely started our week off right!

Our next gamble was in where we stayed.  We were going with the main purpose of visiting Ryan's parents in Naples.  They were staying in a mobile home in a 55+ community.  I was a little worried that the children would have too much energy and too much noise for such a place!  I also wasn't sure if Grandma and Grandpa were prepared for the whirlwind that comes with our family!

Let me just say that these accommodations were much much better then staying in a hotel! (no I am not kissing up to my in laws here - I don't even think they read my blog - I am being totally honest!)

When we arrived we found the mobile home decorated with a sign welcoming our children and balloons were tied up every where!  Grandma and Grandpa didn't do it.  It was done by the neighbors in the park while we were getting picked up from the airport!  You never get a welcome like that at a hotel!  I didn't realize that all of the Grandma and Grandpa's in that community were so excited to see children!  Our kids reminded them of their grand babies and great grand babies and they were all too happy to hear them laugh loudly and watch them splash in the pool!  I never saw a frown from any of them!  We even went to their happy hour and the kids were given gifts by people we never met!  So much for me being worried that we would disrupt the community with our energy and noise!  Everyone seemed to eat it up!

Another great thing about our accommodations besides Grandma's cooking and Grandpa's hunting for lizards, was the pool.  When you are in a retirement community the pool tends to be heated all of the time so it is very comfortable no matter what the outside temperature is!  Because there aren't other children in the park, you don't have to worry about a crowded pool of crazy kids!  We got to the pool early and had it to ourselves until the afternoon.  In the afternoon there is a designated time that no children are allowed in the pool.  It was during this time that Grandma and Grandpa took the kids on an outing and Ry and I sat by the pool.

After sitting for a little while watching the activity around me, I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be retired!  During the non-child designated time at the pool, people came out of the woodwork!  They gathered and played cards, layed out, read books, but most of them claimed a couple of noodles and wrapped themselves up to float in the pool for a time of socializing.  What a life!

We left Naples feeling re energized and full of excitement for the week of fun we had!  I was not prepared for the welcoming attitude of an entire community!  It certainly made a huge difference in our comfort level and the fun we had!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Best of Tarpon

Whenever we go to the Gulf in Florida we head to a little Greek town called Tarpon Springs.  It is famous for its sponge docks.

For decades fishermen have been going out on boats and harvesting sponges.  Off of these docks you can also take boats out to learn about harvesting sponges and you can go deep sea fishing.  The docks also offer many shops and restaurants.  At the very end of the docks there is a small aquarium that offers shows with sharks, alligators, and snakes!  You can also feed sharks and pet sting rays.  The aquarium is small but it is worth the stop!

I made Ry stop in Tarpon for two reasons.  One was to go to Get a Guru and pick up some fabulous soap that I love (they have awesome bath fizz balls too) and the other was to go to one of my favorite restaurants to get my favorite dessert! 

Stuffed Grape Leaves
One of my favorite restaurants of all time is Hellas in Tarpon Springs.  The service there is unmatched!  You will never wait for a thing!  They have authentic Greek food that is top notch!  My favorites are the gyros, domades which are stuffed grape leaves, and the villagers salad.  The villagers salad is very authentic.  Sooo yummy!!  A big must have is the saganaki!  It is goat cheese that they set on fire!  When that happens everyone yells OPA!  The kids love the performance and the taste!
My all time favorite thing about this restaurant is the nine page dessert menu that makes your mouth water!  Have you ever been to a restaurant with such an large dessert menu?  Everything is very unique and so so good!  They make the BEST Italian canolis!  I have tried canolis everywhere and no one compares to Hellas!  The other dessert you can't miss out on is the baklava cheese cake!  It makes my mouth water just thinking about it!  Ry and I had our desserts and then I had them fill a to go box with more canolis to take with us!  I wish I could have these desserts shipped to me!  Of course I would be a walking blimp if I did so I guess it is good that we don't have a Hellas near our house!
My favorite!!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Friendliness of Strangers - Over the Line

Airplane travel is always an adventure whether you go with children or not.  Often times I am taken away with the kindness of strangers while I travel.  I have had people help fold strollers, hold bags for me, and offer to let me cut in line. 

I always appreciate these small acts of friendliness, but sometimes strangers can be a bit too friendly and accommodating.

On one particular flight I was traveling alone and was seated in a middle seat.  The window seat was occupied by a middle aged gentleman and the aisle seat was occupied by a woman with her baby on her lap.  He was a cute little guy who spent his time tearing up magazines and playing with my hair.

As the flight lagged on, the baby became tired and snuggled into his mother.  I leaned forward against the seat in front of me and was facing the aisle when the stranger next to me became a little more friendly.

A conversation would have been great, but he took it a few steps too far.  He began STROKING MY HAIR!  I am being completely serious here!  Who does that to a stranger??  It wasn't a slight touch, it was an obvious continued stroke with fingers through my hair more then once!  I quickly turned and looked at him.  To his credit he thought he had a good reason for playing with my hair.  He told me since the baby was done playing with my hair he didn't want me to feel neglected.  How nice of him to be so considerate! 

I was so shocked I didn't know what to say!  I simply moved my hair to the other side of my head, sat against my seat, and got out my book to read.  There were no more smiles or pointless chit chats with him!

It is great to be friendly and kind to strangers, but please do not take it too far!  That was definitely too much friendliness even for me!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates....

Each Valentine's Day I practically drool over those heart shaped boxes.  I love those delicate chocolates each filled with a different delectable flavor!

Ryan used to have a gentleman who brought in a box every Christmas to his office that somehow landed up in my hands!  Those chocolates didn't last very long and even if I didn't particularly care for a flavor, I still finished them off!  Sometimes Ryan didn't have a chance to even try one!  I have to confess that at times I probably turned into something quite close to the Cookie Monster in how I devoured those treats!

It's true that with those chocolates you never know what you are going to get until you bite into it.  That is of course unless you are a kind, sweet, older lady who adores my husband.  Each time I see a box of chocolates I drool and then think of this story. (the chocolates make me drool - not the story)

Ryan had a business meeting one day with an elderly woman.  She has a similar love for fine chocolates.  She, however, was very willing to share her box of chocolates with Ryan.  She offered him some tea and got out her treats.  With a shaky hand she peeled off the lid of the red box and offered Ryan his pick of chocolates with a proud smile. 

As Ryan reached over to select a chocolate he had to pause and take a closer look at the contents.  Inside were the typical flavored filled chocolates but also in the mix were chocolates with bites taken out of them!  She giggled as Ryan paused and explained that she just had to know what was inside each one.  Some she wasn't too fond of so she wouldn't eat those later but he was welcome to any one that he wanted!  She proudly pointed out a few that she had sampled and described their flavors so Ry would have a better chance to select his favorite.

As Ryan went to leave she handed him what was left of her chocolates.  She suggested that he take them home to me because he had told her how much I love chocolate!  He politely declined although she continued to pressure him.

When he got home, Ryan told me that he had a chance to bring me a fabulous box of chocolates.  The fact that he was empty handed didn't sit well with me until he described the contents!  I'm so happy he did not show up with half eaten chocolates!  That was definitely one time I was happy to pass on one of my favorite treats!  Lucky for me this Valentine's Day I received a box of untouched chocolates!  So yummy!!!

Have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

The New Night Out

Let's face it.
Having children is expensive.
They are worth every penny, but they are costly.  I know that it is important to spend time with your spouse away from the kids, but when the babysitter costs you more then it does for you to actually have dinner together it can be a little hard to justify that time!

Good News!  I have found a solution!
You just need super fun cool neighbors and a little modern technology!

This is my idea:  put the kids to bed and then go into the garage.  It doesn't matter if your garage is all cement and filled with dirty snow banks from your tires like mine.  It doesn't have to be fancy by any stretch of the imagination.  You only need an area that is away from the children that makes you feel like you somewhat left your house where you can laugh loudly and not worry about waking someone up!   Just set up some lawn chairs in the garage and if you live in a cold climate put them around a heater and then invite the neighbors to come over! 

If your neighbors have children, here is where the modern technology parts comes in!  It is so much better then bringing a baby monitor over!  Most people now a days have ipads.  If there are two ipads just have one person call the other one and do "face time".  (you can also use iphones or a combination of the two) You can set up one ipad in a hallway or room or wherever you want to where you can see the children and hear them and then keep the other ipad with you.  Of course remember to turn off the sound on the ipad that is "keeping an eye" on the children.

Using the ipads this way is like having your own security system!  Of course you should still lock your doors and go over to check on the children.  Also, I am not suggesting you go out to a restaurant and use the ipad as your babysitter, but if you are outside your house, at the neighbor's bonfire, on their deck, or playing on the swings in the backyard while your baby naps and are within a reasonable distance, it could be a great alternative to having to stay inside!  Just please use common sense!

Now if I could decorate my garage and turn it into something like a "man cave" we would be all set!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Out of Proportion! no question about it!!!

Surf Style in Clearwater, FL - huge store!!
While in Clearwater Florida, we stopped in a beach side store, Surf Style.  It was filled with the typical beach fare like towels, souvenirs, and clothing.  There were two things that I found rather unique about this store and one of those things was a bit of a shocker to me!

Who said you can't surf at Clearwater beach?  Now, no matter what the weather, your age, or experience, you can learn to surf and enjoy hanging ten.  (I sound like an advertisement!) The FlowRider® is a self-contained, sheet wave pool that mimics the appearance and action of big surf. Beginners start out using skimboards and with a little practice can advance to chasing the thrill of aerial maneuvers and kickflips.  We witnessed instructors riding skimboards with pupils on the waves.  It looked like a ton of fun!  Next time we have the kids with us in Clearwater this will have to be a stop for all of us!
The second unique thing I saw in the store had to do with how they displayed clothing items.  Mannequins are always shaped well beyond what the normal female body is.  I don't know of any woman whose body is the same proportion as what a typical mannequin's is in the department store.  The mannequins in this store, however, take it to an entirely new level!
You can't be serious!!!

Seriously?  Who has a body like this?  And if you did you wouldn't be able to wear the suits they were displaying!  (I guess that is unless you had some major plastic surgery done!)  Honestly!  Who are these mannequins for?  Will they get men to buy their women bathing suits quicker?  Are they just there for the men to have something interesting to look at while the women shop?  I really can't come up with any good reason for them to be there for women.  They just made me feel a bit inadequate and forced me to skip the ice cream break Ry took after shopping - so maybe that is a good thing....
Ry's ice cream break

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Danger in the Air

The kids love eating outside and having picnics.  When we are on vacation it is always a special treat to bring a bunch of snacks and sandwiches to the beach.  We have found out that this can be a dangerous event!
I know you wouldn't think it to look at them, but seagulls are dangerous wild animals! 

While sitting on the beach munching on a sandwich, Jackson was caught off guard when a seagull swooped out of the cloudless sky and stole his food right from his fingers!  He had a bleeding wound from the beak of that flying rat to prove it!  My nephew has been attacked as well.  What wild animal so boldly approaches people to steal their food?  Even domesticated dogs will often hang back before going after food in a strangers hand! 

When I was young I remember going to the beach and my sister ending up with seagull poo on her head!  These creatures are nasty and there are just way too many of them!

My mom calls seagulls flying rats and is all too happy to have a permit to take a rifle to them at their lake! It's too bad you can't do that to all of them at different beaches because I think she has the right idea!  It's a little exhausting protecting yourself and children from the rats in the sky while trying to enjoy a snack!  The only good I see from them is giving the kids an excuse to chase after them!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Scary Hotel Stay

I love staying in hotels!  It is so fun to have someone else clean up after you.  Hotels mean meals out and no dishes!  Unfortunately, hotels can also mean loud neighbors or alarms that go off in empty rooms before the crack of dawn!

Recently, Ryan and I stayed at the Westin in Tampa Florida.  It is a nice hotel.  It was clean and I thought it was well staffed until I had a little run-in with a girl at the front desk.

Our room was on the tenth floor and we had a slider that opened to a small ledge with an iron railing.  The view was gorgeous!  Ry opened the slider to let in the warm ocean air only to lean on it and get the scare of his life!  The railing was loose and when Ryan leaned on it it gave way so he felt like he was falling to his death!  That is not a fun feeling!

When we went down to the front desk, I told the girl there that our railing on our balcony was loose.  She told me the hotel didn't have balconies.  True.  So I rephrased my statement.  The railing on the ledge outside of our room was loose.  She told me the windows in the hotel don't open.  Ok.  We don't have a window in our room.  We have a slider in our room and the railing outside is loose.  She told me they didn't have sliders in the hotel.  The conversation went on with her basically telling me that I was either high or insane because there was no way that I could have opened a slider to the outside!  I looked at Ry and asked him if I was stupid!  Wasn't there a slider in our room that had a sign on it that said to open the drapes completely before opening the slider?  Did this girl not really work here?  What was going on?  Ryan finally said this was pointless and told me to just walk away.

I was flabbergasted!  I only wanted to stop an accident from happening!  This is not the way to treat guests!  Since she wouldn't listen to me, I put sticky notes on the slider to warn the next guests.  When we got home I filled in a survey and posted a review about the hotel.  I should probably call and I wish I had the girl's name that was at the desk, but I was so shocked I forgot to look!
I guess my advice to you would be to be very very careful when staying in a hotel whichever one it may be, because even the nicest hotels have problems!!!

Update:  I did get an email from the hotel and then a follow up call from a manager.  Apparently they had to up their training as the associate honestly wasn't aware that two floors of the hotel had balconies!  They also assured me that the balcony railing would be fixed!  I'm glad about that!  I would hate to think that I could have prevented something and didn't!!  Thank you Westin for following up with me and taking care of things!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Walk of Shame...

Last week Tucker was fixed.  This was part of the agreement that I signed when I adopted him from the rescue and I really have no desire to deal with a hormone souped up dog!

Unfortunately for my little guy, his testicles never descended so the surgery and the recovery were a little bit more in depth then the normal procedure is.  He has two massive cuts that extend down his belly.  Apparently they had to do a little searching to find what they were looking for!  As a result, he has staples over the incisions.  This also means that he must wear the cone.  The cone of shame.

I feel like the cone is the equivalent to the Scarlet Letter.  Everyone knows what the cone means.  He won't stop licking himself!  Of course this is natural thing for a dog, but for us humans it's not really embraced and encouraged!

When I put the cone on this is what Tucker did:

He sat there FOREVER!  Poor little guy!

I didn't help by laughing as he tried to go through the house bumping into everything with the cone swaying back and forth on his head!