Spring Break 2014

Spring Break came early with the arrival of Uncle Sam. Jayme was out of school for a long spring break, thanks to budget issues with the school district. So Jayme got Thursday and Friday off as well as a full week off of school. Anthony had requested time off for the whole run, but was only able to get the Thursday & Friday. So when Sam said he wanted to come up in the last minute… the timing could not have been better.

The Sunday before Jayme’s school break, the three of us drove to the airport and picked up Sam. First stop was breakfast and we headed over to Biscuits for a welcome breakfast. Second stop was to home. We were not even in the door when Jayme started to spill his planned agenda for Sam. Jayme had worked out Sam’s whole day for him and was a bit crushed when the reality that Sam was not a new toy for him.

The weather for the first half of spring break could not have been better. Sunny and in the 70’s. This meant bike riding, Basketball, and a whole host of outdoor events came into play for spring break.But on the first full weekend the whole family leaped at the chance to get outside and work on the yard.

Last year we planted some blueberries and some raspberries and after seeing a full year of rain and sun. We now knew the best planting areas and worked but a yard plan over the winter.

But first, Joshua and Sam took to the roof and cleaned the gutters and swept the winters collection of pine needles off. Followed by Joshua dusting the whole roof with Moss-B-Gone, which looked like a dusting of early spring snow.

Anthony and Jayme worked on the lawn in the back yard. Or rather the lack of a lawn. They scrapped off the moss and raked up the pine needles, tree branches, sticks and leafs. Then Jayme started to dig up all of the rocks that remained in the new lawn area. We also spent some time measuring and laying out a tree house plan for Jayme.

Anthony removed the rotting wooden railroad tie staircase and planted some new ground cover. He then moved the Raspberries to a section along the back fence, an area that gets much more sunlight and will be right next to a planned walkway to the tree house. So, you know, free snack food for the kiddos.

Clearly all of us had done too much over the weekend. Both Anthony and Joshua were sore for most of the week. Each morning both Dad’s wake early, groan in pain and then leave the still sleeping Sam and Jayme and then trudge off to work. Jayme and Sam of course, both slept in for hours.

Once the weekend ended so did the nice weather. The temperature dropped into the high 50’s and low 60’s and a steady rain fell. This cooler weather was followed by a warm rain which set our yards plantings into hyper drive. Over night the blueberries went from planted sticks to sticks with little green flags.

So with the rain, Sam and Jayme stayed indoors, went to the movies and re-watched the Lego movie, baked cookies and worked on Anthony’s homework assignment. Jayme’s school sent no spring break homework home, so Anthony invented some. Worst of all and MUCH to the hate and loathing of Jayme, all the grownups thought this was a great idea. Anthony asked Jayme to find one chapter book, read it during the week and then write a book report. At first Jayme was very upset, but Sam used the homework as a type of structure for the day. So Jayme could watch TV or play video games but then he would have to read his book for an hour. In the end Sam had Jayme reading 3 chapters a day. By the end of the week Jayme had read the whole book himself.

Mid-week, Jayme was invited to a birthday party. Funny thing was it was to the same bowling alley that Jayme’s 9th birthday party was at. Also the invite came from a kid that was invited to Jayme’s party, yet did not attend. This fact was NOT lost on Jayme. But he did not hold a grudge. The night before the party we took him to Toys R Us and he picked out a very nice wooden box art pencil/pen/chalk set for the kid. This turned out to be a great present as the birthday child was really into making little paper projects.

Jayme ended his spring break with a trip to OMSI with Uncle Sam. He even got to go into the diesel engine submarine.

The day we didn’t go to committee – By Anthony

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Our adoption worker said it… She used the word “Grief”. When she said it, it was in the middle of a conversation and it was one of those conversations were you nod at what the other person is saying but you are really really focused on what you are going to say next. So you hear them speaking but you don’t process it all at that moment. Then later you have one of those “Oh” moments.

In our last post we found out that the youngest kido’s Doctor made a surprise request to call off the committee meeting set for today. We held off making any decisions until we could learn more. But when the foster mother failed to join us in a prearranged conference call, with the Doctor and child therapist not communicating with us as well. Our avenues of getting better information became very closed. We had to make a very heart heavy decision and we decided to not go to committee until we got better information. We did not feel that in good faith we could say to the committee that we are the best choice for these kidos when so many vaild questions about them remained.

So today is the day where we should be very nervous and watching our phone for the call. Readying our letters to our employers HR departments letting them know the moment for FMLA is here and we are out of here. It should be a day were we have a party. A day were we get to tell Jayme that he has not only the brother he has longed for, but two brothers now. But today is not that day. Today is a day of grief.

I know some of you might be wondering why we are upset. It’s not like lost anything, heck the kids were never placed. But for weeks they were placed with us, at least in our minds.

  • We had to prep their rooms
  • Order and build new a bunk bed
  • Buy new bedding
  • Figure out schedules
  • Plan for time off and arrange things with work
  • Have talks with Jayme to prep him for the upcoming transition and the realities of having brothers
  • Think about meal planning
  • Toddler proof the whole house
  • Create lists of toys and items we would need
  • Budget for new clothing and sort Jayme’s hand me downs
  • Talk to friends and family about what was about to happen
  • Go on shopping trips

We woke up thinking about them, spent the day thinking about how we will meet their needs and each night together some conversation about them would creep in.

BUT

As one possible future is closed another possible future with two other boys has opened. Their caseworker seems very interested in us as a match.  These new boys would be a great match for us and us for them. They are super cute and the match is actually the best match we have seen. Call it Gods will/plan, predestination or even fate. This new match is looking to be the one that is a perfect fit.

The quote we used in our last blog keeps coming to mind. “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” 

We do not want that to be us. So today is a day for grief. But not tomorrow!

When the Door closes…

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“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” – Alexander Graham Bell

So with 3 business days until we go to committee we get a E-Mail from our Adoption worker. The youngest of the two brothers  we are trying to be matched with Doctor’s send a E-Mail to the children’s caseworker asking for the committee meeting to be delayed today. The Caseworker then E-Mailed our Adoption Worker and said the committee meeting was going ahead anyways. But the Doctor felt that the youngest child has an very high need an diagnosed medical issue and was requesting the delay so that the child could be tested and evaluated.

WHAT!?!?!  No where in any of the child’s medical paperwork (that we had been shown) or in any of the conversations we have with anyone was this discussed. Nor was even the remote possibility of this medical issue discussed or disclosed. If the Doctors theory holds true it, this becomes a HUGE game changer.

We know that raising any child, there are no promises or guarantees of perfect health. But to intentionally adopt a child with this level of high needs would not only impact  how we could parent the child, but also effect how effective parents we could be to his biological brother and our current son Jayme. Again is a huge game changer and reason for thoughtful pause.

We have had no training or done any prep work to parent a child with this medical condition. With only a few days until committee the amount we can learn and training we can take is little to none. But we are also aware the longer these boys are kept from their forever family the harder their lives will become. So it just beyond  heartbreaking.

So with only days to go, we have very few options.

1. Proceed forward like nothing has happened and accept the risk of adopting a child that might have VERY high needs. Needs we are not prepared for.

2. Join with the Doctor and clearly state we will not go forward to committee without the tests being done first. The danger with this option is the committee might still happen without us and we would be left behind come Monday afternoon.

3. Walk away now and focus on other kidos.  Which is very hard to do. Emotionally we have put up walls to protect us. But for the last few weeks those walls have been falling one by one as we have prepared the house for their arrival.

Our Course of Action?

We have a conference call set for tomorrow morning with the children s foster mom. After a long talk we have decided to move forward with the conference call and get as much information as we can.

 

Christmas 2013

Home from our trip to Orlando and free from plague we settled down for a nice Christmas at home.

Joshua had the whole week off, in fact he had the rest of the year off. So Jayme was free from having to worry about any issues at all about with all day daycare. So the two of them had a second mini vacation  and quickly got to work decking the halls, hanging Anthony’s lighted garland and pick up the perfect Christmas tree. The on Christmas eve, we all worked together to hang the bulbs.

Christmas day

We had made it clear to Jayme that Disney World was his main present and not to expect Santa to bring the huge pile of toys he has had in the years before. But he was still excited and jumping for joy when he came downstairs and saw Santa had come. After a yummy breakfast we sat down in our new formal living room and began opening the presents.

We had been ordering smaller gifts since October and since many of Jayme’s wishlist items were fairly cheap we were able to get everything on his list. But don’t tell him that!

Pokemon was top of his list and he walked away with several pre-made decks and tons of little accessories. Next on his list was Lego and Santa brought several small kits. We also picked up 2 cool sets from the Lego store in Orlando the week before and managed to get them home a wrapped without Jayme seeing them. Jayme had a very decent pile of goodies by the time we had finished.

Joshua also made out like a bandit. Santa Anthony and Santa Jayme bought him a K-cup machine (which has seen non-stop usage since that day) and a Soda stream machine.

Anthony happily got his yearly stack of Doctor Who DVD’s and a few other British shows.

We spent the rest of Christmas hanging out building lego sets and eating. Jayme and Anthony made some Christmas fudge and then we had a small Christmas feast of Ham, Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, hawaiian rolls and sparkling cider.

With the possibility of a future adoption placement in 2014, this was perhaps our last family Christmas together as a trio. Something that the three of us did not fail to feel and talk about. Jayme may have started the conversation about wanting a brother, but the Dad’s have made sure we keep the conversation going so he will know what adding a child to our home will really look like.

 

Meeting Nancy Olseon

Meeting Nancy, by Anthony

Growing up, one of the TV shows I was allowed to watch was Little House on the Prairie.  It was one of those quasi-christian values OK shows that was approved of by my Grandmother. Today, I think I had some sort of Little House flashback moment. And No, it was not about teen dreamy Albert.

No this flashback happened shortly after a conference call with the Foster Mother of a kido we are seeing if we match with. The flashback was of when the Nancy Olsen character was added to the show.

For those of you not up on your Little House lore, it was season 8, Little Laura and Nellie were all grown up and friends. A new villain needed to be added to the cast line up. Going with what the producers knew they created a new Nellie type character.

hqdefaultThe plot; Harriet Oleson(the mean rich lady) was having a very hard time coming to terms with the loss of Nellie who was now all grown up and married to a nice Jewish boy who was in the restaurant business. So Harriet begins a search for the new Nellie, a child to fill the mean and spoiled hole in her family. She sets out to the local Minimum-Security Orphanarium and finds Nancy.

Now unlike other orphans portrayed on little house, who all had no issues (Not counting Albert or all those blind kids) and were all just perfect little kidos waiting for  nice white christian people to adopt them. But Nancy was anything but, looking back with an adoptive parent eye, it is clear Nancy was suffering a whole range of attachment issues, trama and neglect and had developed a whole range of negative skills to survive. This made her a very nasty little TV child. The show of COURSE blamed her for that behavior and then goes to show that all she needs is love and she just has to make the choice to be good and everything will be perfect. HA!

But back to the 80’s subplot, I remember clearly a point when Harriet Oleson finds Nancy, which happened after Nancy had displayed some rather horrible TV child behaviors. There is this sort of eureka moment when Harriet finds her new Nellie. Harriet had found her daughter, one who fits their families skill set.  It was a tender 80’s family values moment.

Today, we had our first phone interview with the foster mother of a kido we submitted on. The more she described this kido the more I thought of our  Jayme. I thought about all the struggles we had with Jayme when he first moved in. The similarities between the two; behavior wise, between this new kido and Jayme is pretty amazing. So much so just putting it in this blog is revealing too much about the child. The weird part was both Joshua and I kept saying… this is so Jayme 3 years ago.

Now unlike Harriet Oleson, either of us hold  warm feelings for all of the tantrums, explosions and struggling we went though with Jayme. From the moment we started the adoption process again our intent has been to get a child with lesser needs then Jayme had. But it was very hard to hear about this little guy’s struggles and know in my heart we can help him, we know this road, we know how to reach him.

There were of course some major differences in some ways there are some bigger concerns with this kido since he comes paired with a sibling group. We also have to think about how adding any child with higher needs into our home will effect Jayme’s amazing progress. So it a lot to think about.

It’s very early days and we are in the discovery phase now. But for a few moments today I felt like a bit like Harriet finding her Nancy. Now all I am missing  is a nice Jewish boy for Jayme to marry.

Thanksgiving 2013

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With the holiday season upon us that can mean only one thing, the string that connects Joshua with his Mother began it’s yearly tug and before we knew it we were on a pricey plane ride to Salt Lake City.

Jayme had the whole Turkey week off of school. Unhappy with our current full day care we pulled Jayme and Joshua stayed home Monday and Tuesday and Anthony took all day Wednesday.

Wednesday night Anthony and Jayme loaded up our suitcases and drove to the airport. Joshua took the Red Line Max in from his work. The parking in the economy lot was crazy, we ended up parking way in the back. But once we got to the airport, check in took only minutes and the security line was practically none existent.

We had used a chuck of our Delta miles and were able to get a very affordable flight to SLC. The only downside was we had to return Saturday morning at 8am or the price would jump $400.00. So this meant we had limited time with family.

Our flight was at 6:20 pm and this was also the first time we have flown where we could keep all of our electronics and gadgets out and running from gate to gate. So one Doctor Who Christmas special later, and the plane was touching down on the tarmac.

We gathered our suitcase (once we found the correct baggage claim) and our hotel’s free van came by and picked us up. With 40 people expected for Thanksgiving, Great Grandma and Grandpa’s house was packed to the rafters. So Anthony booked us into the airport Hyatt Place hotel.

This hotel is so us, we love the computer terminal check in and check out process. Jayme loved the swimming pool, it only took him 3 mins on property to find it and explode with glee. The dads had a big king bed and Jayme had a pull out sofa bed all to himself.

The next morning we woke, showered and headed down to the free breakfast. Afterwards, Anthony headed back to the airport via the free hotel shuttle to pick up our rental car. This time we got a very cheap economy car from Thrifty. Total cost was $15.00 per day.

After picking everyone up at the hotel we headed over to the family estate around 10 am. Grandpa was in full cooking mode and the whole house smelled wonderful.

With 40 people coming the whole house had been converted into a restaurant. The greenhouse was cleaned out and set with tables and chairs. The backyard patio was enclosed with plastic and a large heater was keeping the ‘new” room toasty and warm.

We spent the day visiting with relatives and  meeting our new nephew Rowan for the first time. Jayme spent most of the day playing with his 2nd cousin Grace and being fascinated by his new baby cousin. Anthony spent the day trying to get as much face time with the baby as possible. (Cute pictures of this can be found on the Shutterfly albums)

Dinner was at 4 pm, total guest count was a bit lower then expected only 36 people. We ate out on the enclosed patio and then we held court in on the patio and chatted until late in the evening.

The next morning we had hotel breakfast again and then headed to cousin Nova’s work. She works for a big snow plow company and in the lobby is the 1990’s movie version of the Batmobile. Jayme loved it and then he got a private tour of the production floor.

We then headed over to the family house and spent the day relaxing with family.

There was a very big adoption subplot to our visit this year. Just a few hours before we boarded our flight to Salt Lake, our adoption worker emailed us 3 large PDFs filled with additional information on a sibling group we submitted on (a 6 year old and a 1 year old). The caseworker liked our profile and was very interested in us. This became the subplot for our whole visit.

Halloween 2013

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Halloween time, our third Halloween together as a family. All the photo’s are up on our ShutterFly account. If you need an invite let us know!

Finding the outfit

First year was Darth Vader, then last year was Harry Potter. This year was a tough one to figure out.  For over a month we kept asking Jayme what he would like to be and he just didn’t know or the ideas he came up with were a bit out of reach.

First he wanted to be Sonic the Hedgehog. But he didn’t like the costume we found online. Then a Dark Sith Lord from Star Wars, but as soon as he learned he would not get a new light saber he fell out of love with the idea.

So with a little over 2 weeks to H-Day we stopped by the Halloween costume store. Last year we picked up Jayme’s Harry Potter outfit there and he loved it, so with figures crossed we started shopping.

This year the costumes seem to all be zombie related. Zombie Storm troopers, Zombie soldiers, ect…  Both the dad’s said no to Zombie anything. At 8 years old, we still need the cute photos for not only us but the rest of the family. That and Zombies are such a dark subject for an 8 year old.

It was then Jayme found his costume, a Jack Sparrow pirate costume. It was perfect. Jayme also decided that he was not going as Jack from the movies (which he has never seen) but Jack from his Disney Infinity game. You see Jack from the game has a sword….

So we had to find a sword. Then the devious demon known as Jayme announced that Jack from the game also had a gun and ALL PIRATES needed guns to look real.

Now our house has a firm zero gun policy. No real or toy guns are allowed in the house. So when the NO came, this caused a bit of a pout in the store. But the pout wore off quickly when Anthony let him know that we didn’t need to get a sword either if not having both would be an issue.

 

Pumpkin Chucking

Pumpkin carving was not as intensive as it has been in past years. We got 3 large pumpkins for carving and Jayme picked one up on a field trip.

Jayme created a Creeper pumpkin, a Creeper is one of the monsters from Minecraft. Anthony created a ghost pumpkin and Joshua did a Minion pumpkin.

The one new thing this year was Jayme really wanted to save all of the seeds. With a huge backyard who could blame him. So after the carving Jayme had to pull all of the seeds out of the guts bowl. He laid them out with Anthony on some newspaper to dry.

 

The Big Night

Halloween traffic was CRAZY. By the time everyone got home it was late almost 6pm. So we had kind of a mad dash getting Jayme into his costume and some pizza into his tummy.

When we came to getting in the Captain Jack Pirate outfit, the hardest bit to get on was the pirate hair. It itched and many bobby pins from Anthony’s old princess in training makeup tackle box had to be deployed to move the non-itchy parts away from his face. But once the hair was fixed Jayme was ready to go.

We made it out the door a little after 6:30pm and into our cul-du-sac. Like each year, Jayme had a bit of a hard time getting into the routine, when the door opens Jayme was more interested in seeing into the neighbors house then the candy being offered.

So the first couple of houses the door would open and Jayme would say “Hi” and then start snooping. He would thank them for the candy and then let them know if they had a nice house. Both of the Dad’s laughing so hard from the curb, we were crying. We did a family huddle for a little Halloween reminder of what to say and we then worked up a little script and within a few houses he had it down and was starting to really get into it.

At what was going to be our half way point for our families evening Jayme walked past a child in a mask and came to a full stop turned and followed the kid calling out to him. Turns out the kid was in Jayme’s old behavioral classroom from last year. Jayme then begged us to let him join his classmates group and since we all were going the same way we did.

It was a real window into the future for our family. One of the biggest questions we keep asking our self’s about re-entering the adoption program is how will our family meet the needs of a brother for Jayme. What needs and struggles can our family cope with and still meet everyone’s needs and surpass them. Then most importantly how will that impact Jayme. So seeing Jayme interacting with a child who fits some of the needs that lot of kids in care struggle with, was very informative and answered a lot of questions we had.

Jayme’s classmate is a very hyper kido. He seems to be just as impulsive as Jayme was a few years ago. All night long his classmate was really ramped up. Jayme was very excited but pretty calm. It was really amazing to see that side by side comparison. When your in the trenches it’s hard to see the progress Jayme has made, but not tonight.

Now Jayme’s classmate was not out of control, he had great manners and was a great kid to be around. But… and it’s hard to explain, Jayme had a body calmness that 2 years ago we never thought he could ever have achieved. What it made more amazing is none of the Dad’s or parents had to point this out, Jayme figured it out himself. At one point Jayme turned to his friend and said “I know you’re really excited, I am too, but see, I have a calm body.” I wish I would have had my video rolling!

The two stuck together all night long and really enjoyed each others company.

Of course Jayme still had a few Jayme moments; when his sword fell off his outfit or when his jean button would come undone under his outfit, he still needed his own moments of redirection. But both Dad’s were so impressed how well Jayme played and worked with his friend.

The classmate’s Mom seemed impressed by how well the boys interacted as well, so well that we exchanged numbers so the boys could do a play date in the future. Upon hearing that, Jayme wanted his friend to come over right away and wanted us to make weekend plans. It was so cute and a great way to end a long evening.

 

Orange Frosting Day

Orange

The day before Halloween and a long 4 day break from school for Jayme and his classmates, Anthony arranged with Jayme’s teacher to bring in cupcakes.

Now having brought in cupcakes for the holidays at Jayme’s school before, we are well aware that the school does not celebrate Halloween, Christmas or any other fun kid holiday from our own childhoods. So when asked why we wanted to host a cupcake party… the official answer was “Because it’s Orange Frosting Day of course!”

Anthony took the whole day off from work, so as Joshua headed to work, Jayme and Anthony headed out to a surprise breakfast together at Biscuits!

Ever since Anthony started his new job a year ago, Joshua has been pulling morning duty alone with Jayme. Each morning Anthony either leaves before Jayme wakes or right as, which leaves only a rushed moment together and a heart broken father. So going to breakfast was a real treat for the two of them, but perhaps more for Anthony.

Anthony had his normal, the Country Benedict, and Jayme ordered the french toast with strawberries. It was so nice to have time to spend together and not have to worry about getting to work on time! As a real special treat they ordered a huge cinnamon roll to share.

After breakfast Anthony dropped Jayme at school and then headed over to Freddie’s to pick up the Orange cupcakes and BOY were they Orange!

Later that day, around 2:25 pm, Anthony arrived at Jayme’s school with the Orange cupcakes, 2 big jugs of ice cold apple cider, Halloween… Orange Frosting  Day green cups, orange plates and spooky black napkins with scary Orange Frosting Day spider webs on them.

Jayme was so happy to see Anthony, he ran right over to him, shocked and desperate to know why he was there. Orange Frosting Day of course! The non-holiday officially established in Jayme’s mind, the two of them setup a little table area for all the kids to come and help celebrate Orange Frosting Day with them.

Jayme has a huge class with a lot of ethnic variety and what looked to be kids all at different development levels, and still something new for Jayme, girls in his class. All of the kids had great manners and were very excited about Orange Frosting Day

One of the things the dads have been worried about is the persecution Jayme might face coming from a home with 2 dads. The chief reason we all have the same last name is to stem any issues that might have come up with three last names and two men. But so far Jayme has not mentioned anything to us and our interactions with the schools has been nothing up supportive and equal. But every once and a while we get some questions.

One inquisitive little boy did come right up to Anthony and asked, ” Is it was true that Jayme has two dads?”. Then Anthony said “Yes, how many do you have?” The little boy thought for a moment and then said “Two, one step and one normal one”. The kid then smiled and took his cupcake. All of his questions had been answered. If only all grownup LGBT conversations were that simple.

ApplesAfter all the kids had their treats, Jayme presented his teacher with a chocolate dipped apple that was all decorated with gummy worms and spiders.

When everyone was done, we helped clean up the classroom and then Jayme decided that the leftover cupcakes needed to be given to his other teachers. So Jayme grabbed the tray and headed out to the bus area to continue the cupcake hand out. We also had one more dipped apple for Jayme’s favorite school therapist and we needed to find her as well.

All of the other teachers asked. “Is it your birthday Jayme?”, “No… it’s Orange Frosting Day!” he would say.

Will all of our cupcakes handed out we headed to the car. On the way home Jayme pipes up in a little voice “You know dad, today is just like when you use to take care of me after school, before I had to go to day care.”

And just like that he plunged the dagger into his fathers heart…

 

Flea Dawn

A first hand report from reporter Anthony DeSoren. from somewhere behind front lines.

One of the joys of not having a yard, is not having to worry about fleas. When I was younger I remember my grandmother coming into the house and taking off a pair of while tube socks she wore while gardening in her house dress. I remember watching all the fleas that would jump quickly off of her legs. But this was the 1980’s and monthly bug bombing of the house was pair for the course.

For the past few years we have lived in a cute little townhouse with our two little cats that where flea free during our whole stay there.  But now that we are in our home with it’s huge yard, the fleas have returned.

The first sign was this was Joshua’s legs. When he gets a flea bite they turn into big itchy purple spots. The second sign was poor little Messy who was licking off her belly fur.

But over the many years of bottle chemicals, sprays, press clean up solvent, paint fumes, smoking and a million other bad things I have been exposed to; I now tend to be very sensitive to chemicals. So the old 80’s bug bomb was just plain out for our family.

So we gave both cats a full flea bath and then treated both with the powerful (and not cheap) flea drops behind the neck.

A few weeks later and the fleas had only grown in strength. The cats were suffering and even Jayme had a few confirmed bites. So Joshua took the nuclear natural approach.

We reapplied the flea drops, bought flea collars, steamed all the bedding and the sofa’s and worst of all applied flea powder to the carpets.

drinkNow the flea powder product Joshua got for the carpets was a non-toxic ALL NATURAL product. Make up of clove oils, lemon oils and other flea destructive natural products.  Unfortunately this ALL NATURAL wonder turned out to be a bit too much like Bubble Shock Cola.

The product directions instructed Joshua to sprinkle on the carpet then sweep it into the million little fibers.

So both myself and Jayme hide upstairs with our doors closed and the cats were shut up in their bunker, the laundry room. Will all of the family “safe”, Joshua released the hounds of war on the fleas. But within seconds of the powder hitting the floor, the collateral damage began. As Joshua swept the powder into the fibers, the powder became airborne and was then  sucked into the furnace air return. Then via the furnace it was soon scenting every room in the house. The smell, burns. It’s like snorting pumpkin pie spice with shot of hot sauce up your nose. Not that I have ever done that….

Both Jayme and I ran out of our rooms to protest the scent, only to walk into a burning white cloud of death. Joshua made a mad dash for the furnace controls while Jayme and I ran to master bedroom, opened all of the windows and shoved pillows over the heating vents. With a big fan now blowing in fresh air, at least Jayme and I were safe. A bit over dramatic, but we could breath!

I quickly dressed and Jayme and I held our noses and escaped to Fred Meyers to pick up some pumpkins for Halloween. While we were gone, Joshua vacuumed the carpets and then opened all of the downstairs windows.

We came home to a house that smelled like someone had a major autumn potpourri addiction. A few days later it was much much better.

Only time will tell if we have won this round in the war with the fleas.

SUMMER DAY CARE PRISON

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Last summer our family was very lucky, Anthony was laid off of work.

This wonderful news came just days before the end of the school year. This meant that Anthony and Jayme were able to spend the summer together and Jayme did not have to go to summer daycare. The two of them had a wonderful summer of learning and bonding.

Unfortunately, this year with both dads were gainfully employed and with no Uncle Sam or other family nearby and  free; Jayme had to head off to daycare.

For the past year Jayme has been attending after school daycare run by the local school system and doing a wonderful job. This daycare is a mainstream program with no extra supports. But the staff are well trained and really get Jayme. One of the staff members even shares Jayme and Anthony’s passion for all things Disney. The only downside, of course, is they are closed over the summer break.

So Jayme and a few other  kids from his daycare were hosted at another school run day care site. Every member of our family refers to this site as the bad daycare (and a few other non pc phrases).

Now in fairness to the daycare, they are not unsafe, nor do they beat the children, feed them grey gruel, or lock them in leg irons. But this daycare site was and is just not a good fit for Jayme. You see all summer long the daycare was maxed to capacity with kids, it was hot and staff seemed to working hard each day just to keep order and not go insane.

Also from how Jayme describes it the kids are mostly left to self manage and entertain themselves. Translated into therapy-speak that means a world with very low structure and Jayme thrives with structure. So much so that he even tries to enforce structure on other kids. Summer daycare was in fact, probability, the most unstructured environment he has known in years.

When we first told Jayme that he would be going to that daycare we had a small explosion. Jayme hates going to this daycare. In the ramp up to the first day he begged Anthony to quit his job, suggested that Uncle Sam move back in and even tried to get Joshua to work from home and take care of him. On a positive note this gave us the chance to have a lot of family talks and we did a lot of work to reassure away his fears. It was a great chance to tell him and show him that we trust him and he is a “big boy” now.

Privately, the Dads mentally justified summer day care as a necessary evil on two fronts;  First, both dads had to work. As much as we wanted not to, we had to. We also knew that Jayme needed as much exposure to “the outside world” we could get him if he was going to make it mainstream 3rd grade, which was our summer time goal.

 

The Results:

Peer interactions proved the hardest for him, the older boys picked on him. Jayme was too big to play with the younger kids and socially unsure how to interact with his peers and older boys.

Jayme’s peer to peer communication skills and social warning system are of a much younger child. Coming from such a controlled world, first at the Morrison center and then the behavioral classroom, his skill set of how to be a “normal kid” is far away from the other 8 year-olds. The flip side of that is Jayme expects a higher level of behavior from his peers than most other children his age. If he has to follow all the rules then everyone else should as well.  For years now he has been taught everyone does…

Jayme got bullied quite a bit. Kids can be very mean. Another area he struggled with was that Jayme reacts very differently than other kids his age. He has been working and learning to make good choices but… You piss him off – he might cry, he might also overreact and tip a table on your head. Although we have made great progress on the later.

The summer for the dads was a long parade of notes home and many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many many talks with Jayme. This was pretty draining for all three of us. There was more than one long conversation after Jayme was in bed if Anthony should just quit work and be a house husband (oh god please).

All summer long we had to keep going back to the love and logic training we had prior to the adoption to reassure ourselves that allowing him to fail safely now was so much better now then when he older and fails in a much larger way or worse, fails in 3rd grade. Another way to put it we needed him to fail and learn now with kids he would never see again then make those mistakes in mainstream 3rd grade and derail a very important step in his life.

At some point towards the end of the summer we could tell the staff was done trying to work with  or around Jayme. We started to get notes home of minor issues that should have only needed some redirection, but now had became major official notifications. The notes also came with very knowing glares and looks from the staff to the Dad’s.

Jayme would become very distraught at Daycare when they would tell him they were sending home a note or would threaten him with one. So much so we had to request that they not tell him about any notes.

But the notes kept coming… After a big blow up and meltdown because Jayme (the child with diagnosed impulse control issues) ran and got a ball that was 3 feet outside of the school bounds we got home a one day suspension. Then within two weeks of summer break’s end we received a full three day suspension. This final “punishment” was for Jayme hitting another child after the other kid spit in Jayme’s face, all because Jayme had the basketball the other kid wanted (yes, people had to hold the dads back, please show me any adult who would not defend himself after being spit on! Yet the 8 year old is suppose to, as if!

Luckily, Joshua was able to work from home for the suspension days. The hardest thing was the suspension was anything but a punishment for Jayme, he was free from daycare prison. Even working on homework all day was a million times better than being at the daycare he hated.

The Dads hated summer day care too, but Jayme learned more life survival lessons over the summer there then he could of at home with a dad. Still, it was a very hard summer for all three of us. It kinda slowed down everything, even our 2nd adoption plans as every night seemed to be an all hands on deck moment.

On the last day of daycare after we up picked Jayme and had the long wonderful Labor Day weekend ahead of us, we stopped by Toys R Us and picked up Disney Infinity as a reward for surviving day care! It’s like Disney’s version of minecraft. No better reward could be given for surviving Summer Daycare for our little hero.

The following week school started and we were so glad to be back at our good daycare, the dads hugged the staff!

 

Restoring the DeSoren Aqueduct

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 We have slowly been working on bringing our yard up to match our neighbors. But the one big thing that has been the biggest obstacle turned out to be the lack of water. Our property rests under huge pine trees. These trees block most of the rain fall from our property line, and what water does get though is sucked up by the huge pine trees. This has left us with dry, hard acidic soil.

We ran into this problem when we tried to plant some bunch-berry ground cover. Our first attempt ended with half dead plants. The ground was bone dry even after several days of rainfall; the pour plants didn’t stand a chance. So Anthony heavily tilled and improved the soil, replanted and then mulched the top. He then ran the sprinkler hose out to the curb and watered the heck out of the plantings for a week straight. But even now the ground dries up quickly. So a long term solution was needed.

At one time our home was a garden, one of the past owners really took pride in planting flowers and bushes. There are little clues all around the property of its former glory. But the biggest clues are all of the pop up sprinkler heads around the property. The only issue is the sprinkler system doesn’t work. When we moved in we assumed it was dead and would just have to be dug up at some point.

After we removed the spider infested chicken coop, we noticed that when the previous renters built the coop, they did so on top of 2 sprinkler heads. Since the old coop area has been designated for our raspberry garden we knew that the berries would need plenty of water. The idea of using a hose and sprinkler was not a very appealing. Finding these 2 sprinkler heads made us think about trying to resurrect the watering system.

In the back of the house, the main water supply to the irrigation system had been capped off. The PVC pipe line to the water main was broken and discarded carelessly next to the manifold system. But next to back door was a very new looking irrigation system controller, after playing with it for a while we realized that if we could just repair the broken pipe, we might have a working system.

Some other people might measure a project in its length of time to complete, or the total cost. We measure our home projects in the number of trips to Home Depot. Repairing the sprinkler system turned out to be a 5 trip job.

Before we stared we wanted to hook up the lawn hose to the PVC and see if anything would come to life. Our tests showed that the lines did work; we were able to get one of the front yard sprinklers to come to life. But it looks like the manifolds were dead. Some of the motors worked, some just buzzed and they also seemed to be pretty poor shape. So they had to be changed out. This was a bigger job then just fixing one line. So we held off until Sunday to attempt it.

After breakfast, Anthony and Jayme headed down to Home Depot and got our first round of parks. We replaced the main water PVC supply line and added a shut off valve for some extra safety. Then each manifold was cut off and each one replaced with a new one. Joshua came in behind Anthony and Jayme, and began the wiring.

After waiting for all the glue to dry we had our first test. The system is setup into 5 zones. We fired off zone one and all we got was some bubbling out of a single head in the back yard; something is wrong with that line. Luckily it is watering an area we plan to dig up so it was no real loss.

Fired up zone two, nothing happened. Jayme ran all over the front and back yard up he could not find any water. In fact we did not find anything on zone two until later in the day we tried again and part of the hillside opened up. One of the sprinkler heads was broken off and buried.  The PVC was even broken so we made repairs and it appears that zone two is only one sprinkler head. But again, this is an area we plan to dig up and have no need to water at this time.

Fired up zone three, the whole north fence line sputtered to life. This was an area that we really wanted to work, we now can plant some wonderful things along our back fence line and hopefully block a bit of our neighbors yard.

Fired zone four and the back half of the front yard sprang to life. We played with the sprinkler heads and they might have to be replaced. But the line is good! Zone five turned out to be the raspberry garden area and the very front of the front yard. We spend the rest of the day adjusting each of the zones sprayers while Jayme tried to get as wet as possible.

The next weekend we decided to expand the system and cap off the area’s not being used yet. Capping off was easy, but adding the new line was more of a challenge.

We wanted to add one sprinkler head to the front driveway area where Anthony planted the bunchberry. This required adding 30 feet of PVC line, 2 bends and one sprinkler head.

Thankfully Joshua had picked up a pick-axe to plant the blueberries, so digging the 30 foot trench took half the time it would have with shovels. It still took us over 2 hours to dig the line and glue up the parts. But it proved to only be a 1 home depot run job.

By dinner time the trench was filled back in, Jayme and Anthony had cleaned and restored our little rock trim on the driveway and the sprinkler system was covering everywhere we wanted. We celebrated with Burgerville for dinner with raspberry shakes.

Keeping up with the Jones

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Before we purchased our new home, one of the main selling points for Jayme was the fact that there was a little man made pond in the front yard. It’s not a very large pond, only about 6 feet across. But each time we would visit the house, Jayme would insist that we turn the pond on so he could play with it. After we moved in, one of our first outdoor projects was fixing the pond.

The pond was very stony, mostly dry and what water was in it was thick and very smelly. A small early spring heat wave dried up the little water left in the pond and gave us our first excuse to start work on the pond.

Anthony and Jayme changed into some dirty clothes, put on some rubber gloves and started to clean out the pond. We had thought there must be a hole in the lining.  Every time Jayme would  fill the pond it would drain out within a few hours. So our goal was to clean out the rock and look for a hole to patch. But as we cleaned it out, we learned what was really going on. The water was not flowing out but down. Our shallow rocky pond turned out to be about 4 feet deep filled with rocks and gravel. The pond seemed dry, but only the top inch of exposed rocks was dry.

It took two weekends to hand lift all the rocks and gravel out of the pond and reach the plastic liner. It was a mucky smelly mess! But after cleaning and filling the pond liner, we found zero holes. It was a very pleasant surprise.

Over a few weeks, we made a few trips to different nurseries and before we knew it we had a great little pond, no fish but we had several frogs move in.

With the pond clean we now had a new problem, what to do with the piles of river rock we dug out to the pond. In the end we decided to artistically lay it in strips down our driveway. Sort of dry river bed effect, Anthony moved a few bigger rocks down and the front yard was starting to take shape.

It was about then that our neighbor ordered several yards of black mulch and mulched his front yard and gardens. Our little weedy adjoining hill and pond rocks seemed to just scream eye-sore; so we headed to Home Depot and purchased some lawn weed fabric and 20 bags of mulch. Anthony and Jayme also picked up 2 small huckleberry bushes which should grow to about 8 feet in height and help hide our fence (a future project).

We spent the weekend laying the weed block and raking mulch, but by the time we finished we had a very respectable looking hill adjoining our neighbors amazing yard.

Our front yard is MASSIVE, with all of our work only about 1/8th of the front yard is now presentable. But still the neighbors liked what we did so much that they bought some rocks for their driveway to match ours. Who knew we were trend setters!

We still need to removed several small trees and bushes, expand Jayme Pond, plant some grass and fix the sprinkler system! But we feel that we are no longer a huge embarrassment for the neighbors.

Spring Trip To Disneyland

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When the stress levels in our house get too high. Things get rough for our family. Little problems become big. Jayme starts to act-up more at school and daycare, Anthony starts looking for ways to be a stay home dad and Joshua becomes crazed housemaid. So identifying when our family is stressed is very important for our families well being.

Having survived the house move and all the drama that came with it, our family needed a break. We all knew it and we had gotten to the point where it just had to happen. So the dad’s decided to look for a weekend getaway.

We looked at renting a house on the beach, but it was all so pricy. For those prices we might as well fly to Disneyland!  Huumm Disneyland….

So on a boring Thursday night, May 9th, we all arrived home and had a simple dinner. After dinner we all sat down on the sofa together and asked Jayme if he wanted to go to school the next day, he said no. So then asked him if he wanted to go to Disneyland and he said yes. We said… ok.

Having packed all the bags the night before so all we had to do was load the car and drive to the airport. It took him a few minutes to process it all in. But, by the time we got to the airport he was bouncing for joy. Clearly this trip was want the doctor ordered because by the time we got to the airport everyone’s mood was better and everyone was smiling.

We parked in long term parking and rode the shuttle in for our 8:30pm flight to LAX on Alaska Airlines. The flight was very short and before we knew it we were descending in to LAX. This flight marked Jayme’s 11th flight. He has become quite the seasoned traveler over the past two years.

We gathered our luggage and headed to the Thrifty car rental shuttle. It was here that the travel, excitement and hour of the day caught up with Jayme. He started to get a bit fussy and wanted to be held. Jayme is 8 years old and at times about 4. This was one of those times.

Once we had the car we pulled out our iPhone and headed off to the hotel. This trip Anthony found an unbelievable combo deal with the airfare and the hotel, the hotel being the Anaheim Travelodge International. Now…. we are not picky, as long as the room is clean and nice we can put up with just about anything. But we knew all was not well when we hit the elevator it smelled like someone had done well… you know in it.

The room itself at first glance looked ok, plain but ok. But in the morning we noticed in the bathroom huge water marks and mold told a different story. Anthony and Jayme tried to put on a cheery face, but Joshua was not happy. Years ago we had gone on a trip and stayed in a 2 star hotel, after that trip Joshua had a travel restriction on our family staying in anything other than a 3 star hotel or higher. The Anaheim Travelodge International was a 2 star. But we did get one real plus out of the hotel,  Anthony is not allowed to book anything other than the Disneyland hotel for our next visit, per Joshua. So our next trip should be amazing!

 

Friday

What the Anaheim Travelodge International lacked,  the parks made up for. We woke the next morning and skipped the nasty free breakfast in favor of Lenny’s…. ah Denny’s.

We arrived at California Adventure a min after rope drop. Knowing how long the lines can be at Car’s Land we decided to spend the morning there and made a beeline for Radiator Spring Racers. As we crossed the entrance the wait time sat at 1 hour. Normally we would never get in a queue with an hour wait, but know how long this line can be. In our last visit Joshua did not have a chance to go on RSR because of the long queues, so this was all new for him. Jayme passed the time taking photos of strangers; his normal vacation hobby and the dad’s had their  first chance in weeks to just talk and relax in the warm sun. The hour wait turned out to really be only about 45 mins! We  all loved the ride and once again, our car won the race. As we exited we noticed the wait time was hovering at 260 mins, so grateful we came early!

We spent the morning exploring Radiator Springs and the boardwalk area of California Adventure. But once lunch time arrived we had a real adult treat planned, lunch reservations at Carthay Circle.

Carthay Circle is the new fancy restaurant in California Adventure. We arrived and check in on the first floor, they asked us to take a seat in the lounge and all three of us sunk in to big leather sofas and waited in the dark cool room. After a few minutes a host arrived and took us to our table, which was on the second floor. We had the option to take the stairs or the elevator, Jayme chose the elevator.

The restaurant is very large but is broken up into many small dining rooms. We were taken to our room, which only had 7 tables in it. A few minutes later our waiters (note: waiters) took our drink orders and our dining experience began.  We planned to take advantage of the World of Color reserved seating offered by the restaurant. To qualify for it each person in the party must to order a main course and a desert or appetizer. We met and beat this. Each of us ordered an appetizer, main course and desert. All three meals were AMAZING! Each of us ate of each other’s plates, with the exception of Jayme’s fish, which he inhaled in a matter of minutes.

But the best part was dessert. Each of us ordered something. Anthony ordered cheesecake,  Jayme a chocolate brownie and Joshua ordered, but did not eat, the Strawberry Rhubarb tart. I say ordered and not eaten because Joshua mistakenly let Jayme try a bite before he tucked in. Before Joshua knew what had happened, Jayme had inhaled the whole tart and was asking for more! Anthony nearly fell out of his seat he was laughing so hard.  After wonderful lunch we rolled our self’s down the road to our dirty hotel and took a long post lunch nap!

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The 2nd highlight of the day was World of Color. This was our second time watching the World of Color show as a family, last time we arrived an hour early, had reserved standing space and got an amazing view. We had a front row view in section D3, we felt like kings. This time we seemed to have topped even that. The Carthay Circle reserved area was a little further back but was on a higher tier in section Y3. We arrived an hour early like last time and were the first group escorted to the reserved area. Over the next hour only 3 other small groups joined us. We ended up having a huge area almost to ourselves. This felt very awkward as we looked down at everyone else packed in like sardines. The show was outstanding and as we left the park we could feel that the stress bubble we had been living in for the past few months had been popped.

 

Saturday

Disneyland park day! We again skipped the yucky free breakfast at our hotel, but this time we headed to IHOP for breakfast. The price was about the same as Denny’s but there were more food options.

People always ask what our battle plan is when visiting the parks. I tell them three things; Go early, use the fast-passes and take a nap. Today we did not veer from that strategy.

We headed right to Space Mountain, as that was the one ride Jayme loves above all others. As we entered the standby line we also grabbed fast passes. We had a 10 min wait, rode Space Mountain then walked over to Star Tours with a 10 min wait, then walked back to Space Mountain and rode again with our fast-passes. Within the first hour we had done the Space Mountain twice and Star Tours. As we exited Space Mountain the wait time was over an hour and Star Tours was the same.

This was Jayme’s third trip to Disneyland, so he has a little map of the area in his head now. We spent the rest of the day following that little map. Jayme was our junior park tour guide.

After our nap and dinner we had one more little surprise planned for our boy. Anthony had signed us up for the Fantasmic Desert party again. We ended our day again as Kings, being served deserts and drinks in our private reserved seats watching Fantasmic!

 

Sunday

Today was travel day home, but our flight home was not until 10:45pm. So we had another full day at the parks ahead of us. We checked out of our flop house and loaded the car with our bags and left over desert party treats. We then drove over to the massive Disneyland parking lot structure and parked on site.

We had park hopper passes so we were able to visit both parks today and take in any rides that we missed or that Jayme wanted to ride again. We started in California Adventure were Anthony was forced onto California Screamer. He was promised that when the car went upside down, Jayme would hold his hand. Jayme lies…..

With no hotel to escape to for a nap, we were pretty hot and tired when we got to the car at evening. The car itself was roasting! Jayme passed out in the backseat about halfway to the airport.

For our return trip we flew back on United with a connecting flight in SFO.  The flight home was uneventful until SFO, when we transferred to a much smaller jet. So small that we had to walk out onto the tarmac to board. We had done this before in Hawaii, but it was still a thrill for Jayme. Once on-board the thrill was over and Jayme passed right out.

Photos are online of our trip!

The Chicken Coop

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The one “extra” item we received when we bought our house was the addition of a large wooden chicken coop. It was on a side of the house that we rarely traveled too, so it was not something that had to go right away. But as berry season came, so did the desire to have our own little raspberry garden. Anthony has very strong memories from childhood of walking through his Grandmothers garden eating until his little insides burst, and for some wacky reason wants to pass on that experience to Jayme.

IMG_0145We placed an ad on Craigslist under the free section. Within 1 hour we had 14 E-Mails, by the next morning we had 23. But to be fair we started at the top of the list. After a few E-Mails we arranged a time for pick up.

The winner of our free coop arrived Thursday night around 6pm. Looking at the coop we had thought that it could be removed in panels. But as we started to take it apart we realized that the whole thing would have to be taken apart, piece by piece. “Luckily”, we had lots of help. The nice lady who came brought some tools, a large truck and her 5 year old son.

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The 5 year old was the official gatherer of all of the screws and when something needed to be hammered he was front and center ready.

Jayme who had blown it at Day Care that day and prior to their arrival was told he would be having a quiet night (no tv, no video games). Jayme was in his room and quite happy not to have to come out in the heat and work until he hear the 5 year old. The fact that a kid was on HIS property and he could not play with him became the ultimate punishment for poor Jayme. Jayme kept calling out to the kid from his window and really really wanted to help.

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Taking the coop apart and loading it on the truck took almost 3 hours. But worst part of the whole tear down was the little coop part itself. It was built on top of a packing crate. There was no way to take it apart, so we had to carry it up and over our fence. This was fine in itself expect that it had about a TRILLION spiders living in it, on it and under it. We found one that was a good 3 inches across and thick. None of us turned out to be very brave when it came to spiders.

When everything was loaded the little boy decided he wanted to stay for dinner. This mom explained that he really bonds well with other guys, and we are pertty amazing guys. In fact, he wanted hugs from both us before he left. We had to break out our special needs training, stanger danger traning and suggest high fives or handshakes to him. He was super cute and our interaction with him really drove home the feelings that we need to buckle down and get our adoption paperwork turned in for Jayme’s brother.

That night when we tucked Jayme into bed, Jayme wanted to hear all about the chicken coop tear down and more importantly the little boy. We told him about what we did and the spiders. He seemed to have lots of questions about the little boy. When we got done telling him about everything he said “You should adopt him, (the little boy).”. Anthony told him that the little boy already has a family. Then Jayme said “Well, you can just take him away from his family and then he can be adopted.” As soon as he said that Anthony had to hold back the tears.

Bedtime ended with lots of hugs and kisses. Talking about family and what it means, telling Jayme that we are a family forever and no one would ever take him away again.

Easter 2013

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Apart from ice camping for Easter, we tried our best to have good Easter weekend for Jayme

2Friday night Jayme and Anthony sat down and watched the 1977 animated classic ” The Easter bunny is coming to town” with  the voice of Fred Astaire. It’s a wonderful tale about where the Easter Bunny comes from and why we eat eggs on Easter. Of course none of it was true, but it had lots of catchy songs.

Saturday we took a bike ride around our new neighborhood and checked out the sights. We also got Easter haircuts. Later that night we picked up a Papa Murphy’s pizza and Joshua located the new episode of Doctor Who for us to watch. We don’t know how, but Jayme is a total Whovian…. total shock right? We all snuggled on in our new media room under blankets and watched it our our big screen.

On the big Easter day Jayme came bouncing down the stairs and found a HUGE brightly colored basket of chocolate rabbits, chocolate eggs and assorted Easter candies.

Anthony boiled up 3 dozen eggs and Jayme got to paint and dye everyone of them. One of the kits Anthony picked up was a tie-dye egg kit. They dry all shiny and glossy and some of the colors that Jayme used on the eggs  turned out really amazing. He even mixed a pale green egg with a extra wash in the yellow dye to make a bright Kelly green egg. He is quite the artist!

Once the eggs dried, the Dad’s hid them all over the yard, front and back. This year Jayme was VERY specific that he wanted a full on Easter egg hunt, so the Dad’s being pushovers complied.

Jayme took his time and hunted everywhere for the eggs. At one point we saw a big dog in our yard and got a bit worried that we might come up a few eggs short (with the dog eating a few), but a final count at the end showed that Jayme had found them all!

Easter Ice camping

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It was a wonderful Friday evening.

After weeks of cleaning the old town house we were about to spend our first free weekend together in our new home, best of all it was Easter weekend and the 6th anniversary of our domestic partnership (10 years total this fall). The weather forecast could not have been better, super cold at night but 70’s and nice during the days.

Anthony stopped off at Fred Meyers and picked up eggs, Easter candy, a new basket for Jayme, 2 different egg dye packs and 2 special movies for the weekend, The Easter Bunny is coming to town and From the Earth to the Moon. Jayme has been into space lately and the whole DVD series was at Wal-Mart for 12 bucks, great box set for some early prep work for our fall visit to Cape Canaveral.

Joshua picked up Jayme early from day care and the two of them arrived home and entered via the garage. They then headed right outside to work in the front yard clearing fallen branches and weeds from the area.

Anthony pulled up in his car and made his way inside with the goodies and groceries via the front door. As he put his key in the lock he noticed that there was a little yellow door hanger. It read “Per your request, the gas has been shut off.”

Now for years now we have impressed into Jayme that adults are supposed to behave like adults in moments of stress. That big boys do not yell. Big boys do not throw things. Big boys do not use bad words. But…. when in the course of human events, it becomes necessary… sometimes, yes sometimes, adults not only can but will lose it.

We had been working every night for a month and were emotionally drained, physically dead exhausted and to became suddenly confronted with the very real fact that the whole family now has to camp in a cursed house without heat and no hot water for the weekend (and possibly longer). It was just to much for us. Jayme cried, Anthony stormed and Joshua yelled. It was not a pretty picture.

What was a pretty picture was how our family recovered and pulled together. A quick call to our “good friends” at a certain Northwest based gas company,  reviled that their customer service center was closed and had been closed for a whole and complete minute. This billion dollar public utility apparently does not work weekends, because clearly no one needs services on the weekend.

But they do have an emergency number, and this being an emergency we called it. We were a bit shocked to find that this Northwest based gas company,  had maned their emergency phone line with Vogons. After speaking with the Vogon on the phone we learned that they had not just switched off the natural gas to the wrong house, as we first suspected. You see we had called them to do just that for our old home. We had asked for our names to be removed at our old house back in February and switched over to our new home. What we found was:

  • They had no record of anyone living in our new cursed house
  • They still had the gas on in our name in a house we no longer lived in!
  • They could not even find our new house after several minutes of searching.

The Vogon on the phone refused to do anything to fix the issue, which we found impossible to believe. In fact the Vogon was so unhelpful it make we wonder if he wasn’t messing with us. He did offer to E-Mail a customer service representative and promised that they would contact us quickly.

Being E-Mail people this gave us new hope and we asked what the E-Mail turn-around time would be, the reply we got was a bit iffy and muffled. We asked if anyone in that department worked on the weekends and he said “I don’t think so”. After I pressed harder he said ‘No”. Which begs the question of HOW IS EMAILING SOMEONE GONE FOR THE WEEKEND HELPFUL IN GETTING OUR SON SOME HEAT TONIGHT!

With ZERO help coming from this Northwest based gas company and there crew of unhelpful Vogons, our family (20+ year, pay on time customers of this Northwest based gas company) switched into full crisis mode and we took quick action. The sun was setting and the house was growing colder and colder. Joshua jumped in the car and headed down the hill to Walmart, to buy some cheap floor heaters. He returned back an hour later with no heaters. He had tried several stores, no one was carrying them, he even tried Home Depot. While he was gone Anthony made a hot dinner and distracted Jayme with TV and warm food.

We told Jayme we were going to have a no heat party and moved Jayme’s bed into our room. We then placed the only little space heater we had onto our room and cranked it to high and turned on the master bedroom heater fan to full. For the next 4 nights this would be our whole world once the sun had set. The three of us all slept in the same room, each of us with double blankets.

Saturday morning we headed down the hill to our old house. The original plan was that we would be handing over the keys today, but we called and pushed off the hand off until Monday. For the weekend at least we would be showering at our old house.

By Monday, a full weekend in the ice cold house has gotten Anthony sick, made Jayme more on edge and made Joshua even bigger nasty grump. Monday was our anniversary, Easter had been overshadowed by the gas issue. We really wanted our anniversary not to be.

We called our Northwest based gas company first thing Monday morning praying that our anniversary would not be spoiled.  Thankfully, the weekday Vogons said would send someone right out…. on Tuesday.

Our nightmare continued.

Anniversary canceled, Monday night Anthony and Joshua boiled water on the electric stove and each of us took a 2 inch lukewarm bath in Jayme’s bath tub. Not how we thought we would be spending our anniversary. 2 inch solo bath and a child in our bedroom.

Tuesday, while we were at work they entered our home and turned the gas back on. Our world is back to normal until the next part of the curse kicks in. Until then we are looking into alternative energy sources so we can be ready for the next time a utility company fails us and so we can have hot water during the zombie apocalypse.

PS. If anyone would like to buy a house and has cash, we are willing to make a deal!

Moving Day

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We don’t know how we did it, but Moving day landed on the 3rd anniversary of the first day of meeting Jayme. You know… because moving isn’t emotional enough for our family.

We woke at 6:30am and the three of us loaded into the family car for a short ride to the U-Haul center. Anthony and Jayme headed in and got the keys to our 24 foot moving monster.

It took a few tries to back our moving truck into position in front of our townhouse’s garage, the townhouse street and all of our neighbors parking on the red fire lane stripes didn’t really help.

Our plan was to make three trips. First trip to load everything we could ourselves, second trip to have paid movers get the heavy stuff and then the final trip for everything else.

The three of us started to load the garage into the truck. For weeks we have been packing and stacking boxes in the garage. So on moving day it was just about moving those boxes a few more feet into the truck.

By 11:ooam we had our first load ready to go up the hill. With a few exceptions we just reversed the process and unloaded the truck into the new garage.

We grabbed some McDonalds for lunch and Joshua stayed behind to clean up the Laundry Room (see our last post) while Anthony and Jayme headed to the townhouse to get the cats locked in the bathroom and meet the movers who were coming at 1:00pm

Paying the movers was the BEST money we have ever spent! There is just no way we could have completed without them. Within 8 minutes of their arrival they had more on the truck then we had in 2 hours. They moved the washer and dryer, our 300 pound latex bed, Jayme’s bunk bed, our big screen, the dining room table, the sofas, and much much more. They filled the 24 foot truck from front to back.

Once back up the hill they unpacked it all as well. But this time we asked them to unpack into the house, rather then the garage. Everything got in ok with 3 exceptions. First our huge sofa was too big to go in the front. So the movers had to take it in via the kitchen sliding glass door. The second issue was they moved Joshua’s rope out of the truck and into the garage, so on our third trip we had to improvise (we thought they had taken the rope by mistake). The third issue we didn’t find out about until the next day, our washing machine was broken. Turned out the suspension rods were dead, they were well used and the move killed them, not the movers fault. The movers did run over our set time by 45 mins but they worked the whole time and we feel the money was well spent.

Third trip we ran back for the last of the items that could not come by car. We have the townhouse until the 30th so we knew we could just run back and forth with the cars for the little things. So we made a real effort to get the large times on this last run.

With the last of the big times in our new home, we got ready for a little welcome home party. We promised Jayme that if he was good and we got all our stuff moved in we would buy Wreak-It-Ralph and have a pizza party.

So at 7:30pm Anthony and Jayme headed out to Papa Murphy’s and picked up a family sized Chicago stuffed pizza. Then stopped at Safeway for sodas and then all three of us plopped down in our new family room with our TV jerry-rigged to the PlayStation for an impromptu party. No one got to sleep until 11:00pm.

The next three weeks we have been doing something every night. Cleaning the old house  and getting the last bits out is proving to be a MUCH bigger task then we thought. Jayme’s bedtime is at 8:00pm so we have a very small window to do anything at the old place before we have to feed, bath and bed the little one. This upside down schedule has been murder for the Dad’s and made the transition to the new house much harder on Jayme. In the end we decided to only have one person at the old house and keep Jayme at the new and on his normal schedule. But this added more issues as doing the work alone after working hard all day slowly draining our will and we are really starting to doubt this move.

But the end is within sight. Easter weekend we are going to be all done and have a nice family weekend with NO DRAMA or house work!

 

 

Popcorn

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With a week to go before moving day and Jayme’s room completed we wanted to do one other room. We choose the laundry room now known as the cursed room.

We first took down the florescent work light fixture and started to remove the popcorn celling. This proved to be a HUGE job. We bought a portable water sprayer and put down 2 layers of plastic sheeting on the floors. Jayme and Joshua sprayed and Anthony scraped, and scraped and scraped.

At the end Anthony was covered head to toe in wet white goop. It was a hard call what looked worse the floor or Anthony. But thanks to the double layer of plastic sheeting the floor cleaned up very easily. So I guess Anthony looked the worse!  The whole process took 2 hours if you count prep and clean up.

Step two was to add a ceiling fan. This involved making a whole bunch of holes. Our first hole was around the old light fixture. We wanted to look up and see if we could just add a light/fan combo unit. But we found out that the ceiling joists ran the wrong way. So we had no way to run the venting to an outside wall. With the laundry room backing up to the garage we thought we might be able to vent into the garage and the out to an outside wall. Again this proved undoable.

Third hole we cut a large corner piece of the ceiling out hoping it would land under a little secret utility room we found between the master bathroom and the garage. But it too did not appear to be achievable. A bit heartbroken and tired Jayme and Joshua headed out to find lunch as we had spent the whole morning trying to find a spot for the ceiling vent.

While the boys found lunch Anthony keep drilling holes. First one landed just on the inside of the Master bedroom but only 6 inches from the wall and the secret utility room behind it. It was a true EUREKA moment. The last pilot hole landed in the secret room!

The solution for the venting had us cut a 6 inch hole in the floor of that secret room and running insulated ducting from the fan location through the floor, into the secret room then out into the garage attic space then finally to an outside wall.

Next was a trip to Home Depot, were they now know us by our first names. We picked up the wall paint, wall patches, joint compound, a ceiling fan, double wall light switch, 15 feet of wire, 25 feet of insulated venting, a 4 inch hole bit, new switches and a new wall switch plate.

We had to cut two final holes in the popcorn free celling to allow us access to run the wires and expand the light switch box. Running the wire proved to be the easy part. Rewiring 2 switches for 3 hours was beyond us. Now in fairness two ourselves we ran into 2 messed up issues. First, the switch was wired in series and once we finished adding our new line the downstairs bathroom wall plug stopped working and second the old box was very narrow. Took us 3 trips to Home Depot before we found the right type of box to install that would work. Luckily we had our main fuse box scheduled to be replaced the next day and Joshua was able to ask them to figure out why the second plug stopped working. Turns out it had nothing to do with our perfect wiring job. A tripped GFCI outlet on the 2nd floor was the issue. Itwould have taken us years to figure that out!

Once we had installed the fan and Anthony nearly cut off his finger and gave the required blood offering to the demons living in our cursed laundry room, we wired up the fan and switched it on. We bought a super quiet version since the cat box was destined for this room and we normally have it running 24-7. We turned it on and the first thing we noticed was it sounded loud. Looking at it we noticed that the fan drum looks lopsided. So the curse strikes again, clearly more blood was needed to appease the spirts. At some point we have to take it apart and see if we can re-center it. The troubleshooting shooting book has the how to… but we just have not had the time to fix it yet.

Anthony spent 2 days patching the ceiling and sanding it smooth. But as we got to the night before the move we just didn’t have the strength or will power to stay up all night painting. So we decided that we could just push the washer and drying into the middle of the room and at some point paint around them.

After the movers left we plugged in the washer and you guessed it, it didn’t work. A $275.00 house call later we had a working washer. Jayme and Anthony painted the room changing it from a ugly peach to refreshing light blue called “refresh”.

The last item will be the new blinds for the room, we have them but we are feeling a little blood weak, so we dare not risk it now.

A new house and a new plague

house

 

We signed on our new home on Wednesday February 27th. The signing was in Beaverton and took about 40 minutes of writing our names over and over again. An adult version of lines… punishment for some unknown infraction.

Thursday evening we met our realtor at our new home and she handed over the keys. It was a painful event, as both Joshua and I were sick as dogs. Both of us had called into work sick and we spent the whole day in bed asleep. So no celebration over our house just body aches, fever, congestion, tummy &  plumbing issues (trying not to be gross). This was the first sign that we had purchased a CURSED house.

The first weekend with our new cursed home we pushed past our sickness and did too much. We started in Jayme’s room. Four coats of magnetic paint and 2 pints of TARDIS blue and Jayme now as a place to stick up all of his artwork. We also repainted all of his trim, door, ceiling and walls. Added new a new light switch new plug sockets covers and door hardware. Jayme’s room has become test room for our color scheme for the whole house…. and we LOVE IT.

Joshua fixed the dining room light switch, it made scary crackling sounds (another sign of the curse?). It now is a very cool dimmer with light level programing. Yeah… he geeked it. He also got a temporary fix for our garage opener and rekeyed all the exterior door locks.

Knowing that Jayme is too little to really help with the heavy lifting on move day, we decided that doing Jayme’s room first and filling it with his toys would give him a place to go that us not under foot. So we have moved his computer to the new house and most of his toys. But that doesn’t mean Jayme is not helping or wanting to help. Anthony had Jayme help remove all the base trim from his bedroom, Anthony gave him a special hammer to use, the hammer that Anthony’s Grandfather gave to him when he was a bit younger then Jayme. Yes… the hammer is being handed down again and Jayme is THRILLED to have his own hammer. Yes, Anthony cried.

We had been concerned about Jayme signing off on the house. We have been looking for a year and he has only been excited when we would look at a home with a swimming pool. Any other time and he would state that he did not want to move. Who could blame him, this kido has been moved around from foster home to foster home. So we have been doing a lot of work to make him feel apart of the process, so he has the feeling of control. And all the way up to the signing he flat out told us that he did not want to move.  So we have had out fingers crossed for the past week. We didn’t know if all our extra work with Jayme would pay off. That is until we drove down the hill from our house to our rental one evening. Anthony said “ok let’s get in the car and head home” Jayme climbed into his booster seat and said “Dad, this is our home, we just rent the other place.”.

DeSoren Abbey UPDATE

Right now we are at the furthest point we have ever been in the home buying process. For the past 3 years we have rented a wonderful 3 bedroom townhouse. But the townhouse has some issues; It is near the freeway which means we have that car/ocean noise, There is also very little area for Jayme to play outside, and as Jayme as grown larger the townhouse has grown smaller and smaller to the point that adding another child would make our living conditions VERY cramped.

But we found a new house that would fix all of these issues. 4 bedrooms, on a super quiet culdesac, large kitchen/family room, land for gardening and for Jayme to play outside. It’s also still in Happy Valley and more importantly in Jayme’s school district. it’s also very close to where we live now, just a bit further up the mountain.

Anthony found the house online. It was priced a bit above the price range we had been looking at all of last year, but not above our budget. Deb our realtor took us over and right away both of us loved it.  When we found out that the neighborhood had a annual Christmas lights contest everyone was all in.

We placed an offer and began a biding war with a stubborn computer. The home is bank owned and the bank uses an online bidding process. Nice thing is you get an answer every morning at 6am. But your talking to a computer and not someone you can really barter with. The computer knows only numbers and the minimum offer it can take. It took several offers before we found the right offer combination that worked for us and we accepted the computers counter.

Next step was to inspect the place. We all drove over to the house on a Saturday afternoon and got to watch the sewer line be inspected. The inspector lowers (shoves) a camera on a hose down into the bowels of the house and inspects the pipes all the way to the city sewer. The best thing is we got to see it live AND he gave us a DVD to take home and watch again and again. Who needs Netflix when we have sewer inspection video! Our pipes passed with flying colors.

Next inspection was the full home inspection. The inspector came out and found a few things that we got us a bit worried. First the grading on the backside of the house is a slight hill. There was some concerns about water run off and the foundation, but no was damage found. Second was the fuse box, which turns out is a Federal Electric, we have been told that they tend to catch fire. The final issue relates to the first. Under the house the plastic sheeting has been torn and there is some standing water and debris on the plastic. The inspector could not tell where the water had come from. There were no signs of leaks in the foundation and no rot under the house.

So we knew we had some landscaping, some cleaning and a new fuse box to have installed. We got an estimate on how much it would be to clean out the crawl space install new plastic tarp. Then asked the bank to make the repairs and with a shock they came back with an offer to knock some money off the agreed sales price. Thrilled we accepted. We now just need to set some of that savings aside and make the repairs before we move in.

Last step was loan appraisal and now we are waiting for the loan paperwork and our signing date. We have been told it will be in the last week of February. So come March we might be homeowners.

 

Christmas 2012

It’s hard to believe that this is our second Christmas with Jayme.

Last year, Grandma & Grandpa and Cousin Kristen all came up for the holidays. We had planned that this year, we would expand that to include all the uncles and our new sister in law. We had big dreams of a huge Christmas dinner, TONS of Anthony & Jayme’s fruitcake (see shutterfly for video) and all of the family here in Portland together.

But we ran into one small problem… pregnancy. Who knew a 2 dad home would have to worry about that!

It seems that Doctors frown on very pregnant women flying. So that meant Aunt Taylor and Uncle Shiloh could not attend. But we knew we had to get the family together, with Uncle James being transferred from his naval base back east to Guam for several years, this was the last chance for a long time to have all 4 brothers together Christmas. So with Taylor and little baby to be, Rowan, grounded in Salt Lake, we knew we have to give up on our Portland Christmas dream and  move it to Salt Lake City. The tough part was that with Anthony just starting a new job, we also knew all three of us could not go. So a plan was created to keep our family unit together for Christmas and then on Boxing Day Jayme and Joshua would fly out.

With just the three of us, Christmas was as low key as Joshua could get away with. Anthony and Jayme LOVE LOVE LOVE Christmas. Everything must be decorated, there must be homemade fudge, cookies, divinity and fruitcake. The tree needs at least 4000 lights on it or it looks dull. It seems that Poor Joshua loses the War on Christmas a little more every year.

4 years ago, the two of us lived in co-op that required every home be lit for Christmas. So we had a “small” investment in exterior holiday lights when we relocated to our condo. That first Christmas we were the only ones to bedazzled our home. This year we were one of the last to get our lights up. Seems that we were trend setters.

For our tree this year, we skipped the tree lots and joined in on a large group Tree Hunt. We all traveled all the way to Mt. Hood to a U-Cut tree farm. They had a nice pancake breakfast with juice and hot chocolate. We teamed with Suzanne and her grandkids, Jaden and Ava. The drive was worth it as Jayme got to pick his own tree, something he took very seriously.

When it came time to cut down the tree, Jayme insisted that HE would chop his own tree down. For the full week prior he had been talking up how he was going to cut the tree, and how it would fall. He had it all worked out. With some careful instructions from the tree farmer, Jayme got to saw away on the tree… for a few minutes. It was very cute, but it didn’t take long before Jayme consented/requested into letting the nice man with the gas powered chainsaw cut it down for us.

Christmas day was again a great day for our family. But it started off a bit bumpy the night prior. Jayme was SO excited for Santa’s visit, getting to sleep was just not possible. We had put Jayme down at his normal bedtime but hours later, he kept coming out and asking if it was morning yet or if Santa had come yet. Jayme still believes in Santa, or rather wants to.

At one point we thought we had him down, so we started sneaking the presents down from our room to the tree. While Joshua kept watch on Jayme’s door, Anthony arranged the presents and filled the stockings. At some point Jayme awoke and walked over to his door. Upon opening it he saw Joshua, who was guarding it… they both promptly screamed in fright…. TOO FUNNY.

Christmas morning we had fresh homemade waffles and POG. The unwrapping ceremony was shorter then last year. With just the three of us it was hard not to let Jayme go nuts. Again we spoiled him, getting him WAY to many things, but as was pointed out to us while he was in Foster care Jayme was never spoiled, just the opposite.  So he has earned a few years of being showered with love and presents.

The best moment of the day was when Jayme got his final present. Right after everyone woke up and while Anthony was making breakfast, Joshua took Jayme out to pick up Starbucks. This gave Anthony the time he needed to move Jayme’s final gift from it’s hiding place into Jayme’s room. Once we had finished opening all the gifts around the tree we started to clean up and all  three of us headed up to Jayme’s room carrying his new stuff. With Jayme leading the way he didn’t notice Anthony video taping him as the ascended the stairs or turning the corner into his room.

As Jayme ascended the stairs he was talking about which Lego set he was going to open first and then he turned the corner. The only thing he said was “What the”. There sitting on the table that we had moved into his room the week prior was a new to him silver shiny iMac with Star Wars Angry Birds playing on it’s screen. He set down all of his new toys that moments ago had meant the world to him and made a beeline for his new computer.

We had found the computer on Ebay, it was used and needed a memory upgrade. But it was just what Jayme needed. We spent a week of evenings locked in the closet of our bedroom loading educational software, adding hardware, locking down websites and programing the parental controls. We struggled for a while, if a computer was a good present for a 7 year old, but he is so drawn to electronics that we felt that giving his him own computer would give him an edge over other students and force him to improve his reading skills.

The rest of the day was spend playing with our new toys, watching Christmas movies and getting ready for SLC…

 

12/21/2012 THE END OF THE WORLD

Today was of course the end of the world. So every television station and online news article all day long has spoken of nothing but the end of the world.

It was after dark and Jayme and I were upstairs in the Dad’s bedroom playing Battleship (the board game), also known as the game that Jayme cheats at.

We had Netflix playing a kids show on the TV, more for background noise then anything else. Both of us were into our game. We first noticed something wrong when the TV flashed and then turned off. We turned it back on and kept playing. Then less then 60 seconds later ALL THE LIGHTS in the house turned off. But it was not just the lights… everything turned off. We had lost all power to the house.

In less then half a second both Battleship game boards and all those wonderful little plastic ships and white and red colored pegs were flying through the air as Jayme jumped from the floor onto the bed (and into Anthony’s arms). In that same half second Anthony wondered “Was the world about to end?

It took a few minutes to calm Jayme down. The first thing we did was to assess if the world was ending or if we just blew a fuse. From the bedroom window we could see downtown and they seemed to still have power. But our area seemed to be joined in our mutual darkness. But that didn’t really matter. Recently Jayme has been displaying a real fear of the dark. So this WAS the end of the world in Jayme’s book.

His fear of the dark is something he has not shown us before. We have talked to all the smart people and they have told us not to worry. Jayme had some serious developmental delays that he picked up while in foster care. So we know we should expect some behaviors that mesh more with a younger child. But the good news is he is catching up.

Jayme’s first reaction was that we needed to go get in the car, not to escape the coming zombie apocalypse or to drive and get Joshua. But purely because car has lights not connected to the Pacific Power grid, he is a smart little kido.

For me the thoughts going through my head were of that scene from Deep Impact. The one when they all know they are going to die and Laura Innes character decides it is  better to wait in the child day care center at her work, because that is where her daughter is most comfortable… as they wait for the planet to be destroyed. So I took her lead and gathered up the flashlights and took Jayme to his room.

Once in his bedroom we crashed on his bed and powered up the flashlights. Jayme decided that to be extra safe we should but some stuff in front of the door, so bad guys can’t get us. We then turned on our iPads and watched Cars 2. Because that is what you do when the world is about to end, right?

 

 

 

 

 

Disneyland Road Trip 2012

The Lovely Suzanne and I have been talking about taking a joint family trip to Disney together for over 10 years. Every time we would travel south to Califonia on some court trip Suzanne would tell me about how someday she would like to take her Grandkids with us and do a Disney trip. Each time I would relate to her the tales of one of our family trips to World or Land, she would say someday. So this time when I spotted a cheap hotel package and told her about it, she finally to my surprise, pushed the GO button.

 

DAY ONE

The trip itself officially started at 5:00am with me jumping out of bed to wake up Jayme. Having packed the night before, all we had to do was eat breakfast and wait for the van to arrive.

At 6:30am they arrived; The Lovely Suzanne her husband Robert, her son-in-law and her two grandchildren, ages 5 and 9. We quickly loaded the car and I started down I-205 to I-5 and the 11 hour drive to Sacramento. Suzanne had offered to wave Jayme and my share of the fuel expences if I played chauffeur, something I was more then happy to do as I love to drive. Our plan was to stop over in Sacramento for the night and break the driving into two days, for the kids’ sake and our own.

We made better time than our online maps had predicted, and arrived in Ashland for lunch at the Wild Goose cafe and bar. Not someplace I would recommend, but we were hungry and it was there.

We made a few stops along the way down, mostly to allow the kids a chance to run off their energy. But the extreme heat kept most of our stops short.

By 8:00pm we broke past the Sacramento city limits. As we hit the city limits, we also crossed the kids toleration for the day. The three of them got louder and louder and started to sound drunk. So we rushed as fast as we could to make it to the hotel and by 8:30pm we were checked in and resting by the pool. When we left Portland it was in the upper 60’s, in Sacramento it was pushing over 104. Our hotel was the Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham; at $69.00 a night with free breakfast, it was a great budget saver.

We had a nice visit pool side with an old friend Misha, who now lives in Sacramento and then headed back to Suzanne’s hotel room for a late night pizza feast. The pizza box was quite a bit better tasting then the hotel pizza. But everyone was hot, tired and hungry so we muched it down. Jayme and I slipped away to our room and crashed while watching the history channel.

 

DAY TWO

The next day we started out early again. Super early for me as the hotel gave me a 3am wake up call for some strange reason. But once everyone else was up, our first stop was the free breakfast at the hotel. Waffles, coffee, juice, sausage and powered eggs. Not 5 star cuisine but it was hot and filling.

As we departed Sacramento we stopped by the Amtrak station to visit the closest Starbucks to the hotel. YEAH FOR COFFEE!

The drive down to LA was a long and hot one, a shorter drive then the day before, but I was extra tired and the high temps seemed to grate on the adults more then the kids. We also had to deal with flying invaders. At each rest stop we visited somehow every fly for miles would fly into the van. All three of the kids hated the flies, but the insects really bothered Suzannes’s grandchildern a lot. So total insect extermination was critical on day two.

We got into the Anaheim area around 5pm. This was Jayme’s second trip to Disneyland and third time going to a Disney park (we did Disney World for his birthday in February) so our families excitement was NOWHERE near the levels of the rest of the party. Screaming, jumping up and down followed by tears pouring as we rounded the corner on to Harbor Blvd. For once I had to be the Disney killjoy and try and bring it down a few notches! I mean how weird is that?

We checked into our hotel, the Red Lion. Again we got a killer deal. $99.00 a night with free breakfast and free parking. Jayme and I headed up to our room, a nice 2 queen bed room in the south tower. Suzanne had called the hotel the week before, so our room was right next to the two room adjoining rooms she had purchased  for her family.

Per our family tradition, our family always has dinner in Downtown Disney on arrival day. It helps get us in the Disney mood and lets us check out the new Disney pins right away (you know Pre-Shopping). Since it was just the two if us we invited Suzanne and her family to join us for dinner at Tortilla Jo’s. The highlight of the evening was all the kids getting balloon animal hats and of course Jayme spilling his whole peach smoothy down the front of his shirt. After a great dinner and a quick clean up we headed back to the hotel and called it a night. Jayme and I again fell asleep watching the history channel.

 

DAY THREE

We woke up early the next day at 6 am sharp. Rope drop was at 8:00am and Jayme and I didn’t want to miss it or the opening show. We were joined by Suzanne’s daughter at breakfast; she flew down the night before. So we were a group of 8 as we made our way to the park. Saddly, we missed the rope drop show and fireworks by just a few minutes, but the crowd level was thankfully low. Both the boys are Star Wars fans so we made a beeline for Star Tours and had our first walk on experience of the day. The crowds were very light, in fact they turned out to be the lightest I have ever seen.

By 11:20am we had finshed all of the big Tomorrowland rides, the Haunted Mansion and the Indiana Jones ride. It was at this point the group wanted to head back to the hotel to sleep. But Jayme and I decided to stay in the park a bit longer as we normaily do our afternoon break after lunch time. So we said goodbye to our friends. Jayme and I rode the Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mt and then had a wonderful lunch at the French Market Cafe. We sat outside and listened to the Disney Jazz band play. I had the Four-Cheese Pasta & Vegetable Gratin and Jayme had the Citrus Chicken breast kids meal. We then split a big slice of chocolate cake.

After lunch, the two of us boarded the Disneyland Railroad and took it to the front of the park. We then headed back to the hotel room for our afternoon nap. When we woke we found the rest of our group still in bed so we headed back alone. Jayme and I headed back into Tomorrowland and explored Innoventions (or as Josh and I jokingly call the Orlando version “Lindsay Lohan’s Interventions”). Disneyland’s Innoventions is a bit different then Disney Worlds. While it has a few of the same OMSI type exhibits, it is mostly centered around Microsoft’s home of the near future (from 10 years ago).

The one cool thing Jayme and I found was the kids bedroom of the future. The room was empty except for one Disney cast member. She explained that this room was setup for a bedtime story from the future. She asked if we would like to hear the story of Peter Pan and we said yes. She then asked Jayme to climb into the pirate ship bed and be a pirate for the story, Jayme was THRILLED. The cast member then looked for some more kids to join us, finding none, we began our private reading.

As she read the story she had Jayme pretend to blow pixie dust, as Jayme did the walls came alive with video of blowing pixie dust. As she read, movies and shadows changed all round us matching the story. At one point the pirates fired their cannons at Peter, this was Jayme’s part. He pulled on the rope attached to a large canon on the pirate ship bed. Smoke puffed out and on the far video wall the impact of Jayme’s canon ball exploded. This was just too cool for Jayme, who had to pull the rope over and over each time aiming at a different point on the wall and each time the wall matching his aim with a nice explosion.  The story called for only one shot to be fired, but since we had a private reading the cast member let Jayme go nuts.

After the story we road several of the Tomorrowland attractions again and then headed for pizza for dinner. Right after dinner Suzanne called. She had the kids and was entering the park, her daughter and ex son-in-law were still a bit tired from their schedule change and our morning adventures.  We met up with them and watched Captain Eo, the 1980’s 4-D Michael Jackson movie. As Michael Jackson appeared on the screen, Jayme grabbed my arm and asked if that was Michael Jackson. He then said “He looks like a Girl!”.

After Captain Eo we rode the Finding Nemo Subs. All three of the kids loved it.Shortly after that we got a call and the rest of our group was in the park. While the grown-ups had a grownup break (code for smoke break), Since the the kids and I don’t smoke, I took all three of the kids up to It’s a Small World just in time to watch “the Magic, the Memories and You” projection show on the face of “it’s a small world”. With perfect timing just as the show kicked off the rest of the group joined us for a magical show.

After the show we headed down in front of the “tiny” castle for the nightly fireworks. It was an emotional moment for the ladies of our group as Disney used a song that really touched both of them. The fireworks themselves kinda paled compared to a Disney World fireworks display. But the rest of the group loved them, knowing no better.

Once the crowds started to thin out we headed back up to Fantasyland and were able to get some crowd free walk ons to several of the dark rides and Dumbo. The group then headed down towards Pirates of the Caribbean. But as we passed Big Thunder Mt and saw ZERO wait time, Jayme and I just had to ride it in the dark. Agreeing to meet up at the Pirates exit we split up. If you have never done Big Thunder at night, you need to. It’s a whole new ride at night as they don’t light up anything.

As we exited Big Thunder, Fantasmic was just finishing but we made it to the pirates ride exit and waited and waited and waited. As we waited the big voice in the sky announced that the park was closed and Jayme kinda fell apart. Jayme does not do well with fast transitions and after a full day in Disneyland it was a bit too much for him. So I sent the group a text and headed back to the hotel with Jayme.

 

DAY FOUR

The next morning we got up even earlier. But sadly everyone but Suzanne and her husband were too tired to get up with us. Which was a really big bummer, Jayme had been looking forward to hanging with his two friends and today was California Adventure with the new Car’s Land. The wait times for the new Radiator Springs Racers hits 120 minutes by 10am or even earlier. The only way to see it without losing half of your day, is to hit it early. So we skipped the free hotel breakfast and got to the bag check que at 6:30 am for a 7:00 am rope drop.  Now here is the only moment were all Disney magic almost failed us. When we got to the gate area’s there was a huge roped off area for Annual Passholders only. So we queued in the extra magic hours line (which our pass covered) we were 2nd in line. As the Gates opened the cast members started announcing that the extra morning hour starting at 7:00 am was only for hotel guests and everyone else would get in at 7:30 am. They announced this as we had our passes scanned… as they denied us entry and we stood to the side, JAYME started to lose it and frankly so did I. Thank goodness for Suzanne who asked to see a supervisor. Who once arrived a minute later, waved us in within 15 seconds.

We headed straight to Car’s Land. For those of you who have seen the movie, Disney has recreated perfectly Radiator Springs. Jayme was all smiles and so were the adults. Even falling behind at the gate we still made it to the big ride with less then a 20 minute wait. The ride itself is great. A cross between a classic Disney dark ride and EPCOT’s Test track. It was a perfect start to our day.

After the ride we rode one of the other new rides, Maters Juckyard Jamboree. Just as we got off the ride Jayme and I saw the main park opening. A wall of people flooded down into Car’s Land. It looked like those scary videos of the Japanese Tsunami making landfall, but instead of water it was a solid mass of people, packed in shoulder to shoulder, it was a controlled chaos. This swarm of people all headed to the back of the new area and Radiator Springs Racers. As we walked to breakfast we watched the wait time jump to over 1 hour and a half and really started feeling guiltly that the rest of our group was going to miss out on such a great experiance.

We headed to Flo’s V8 Cafe to drown our guilt with a great breakfast. Jayme ordered the french toast; thick cake like bread with banana’s and carmel sauce… he hated it. But everyone else loved it. Jayme ate my scrambled eggs toast and bacon.

Still feeling a little blue that the other kids had missed such a wonderful morning. So we tried to selectively target things we knew the kids would NOT like to do once they arrived s owe could share much as we could with them. First we headed up the road and rode Soar’in, Robert skipped it and head off to have a grownup break.

After the ride Suzanne headed out to join Robert on his break and Jayme and I headed over to the Redcreek Challenge Trail and worked on earning our Wilderness Explorer patch. It was great fun, Jayme climbed rockwalls, followed animal tracks and even rode a tire zipline by himself!

As we finished up Suzanne called, everyone was on their way but they had mislaid their park tickets… PANIC MODE. Thankfully by the time we made it over to the grownup break area the tickets had been found that the rest of our group was headed in.

While we waited for the group, we walked down to the boardwalk area. Jayme and I took the chance to ride all of the little rides; Goofy’s flight school and the parachute drop. By 11:00am we ended up at the Boardwalk games area. Jayme played several games of chance and won a little duck stuffed animal toy, which he named Ducky.

It was then we got 2 phone calls. One from the rest of our group, they were at the main gate and headed to the Little Mermaid ride. The second call was regarding a HUGE surprise for Jayme (you didn’t think the Dad’s could NOT let there be at least one surpise at Disney for Jayme, did you?).

So we headed up to the Little Mermaid ride, as we approached I turned to Jayme and told him I had arranged for someone to take him on California Screamer (a upside down roller coster that I loath), he asked who and I turned and pointed. There in front of us was his Dad Joshua. Jayme screamed for joy and ran to him and gave him a huge hug followed by kisses and then more hugs.

We did not originally plan on Joshua coming down with, but we found a super cheap $99 flight and the room was already paid for… in the end it was just to hard to break up the family. Of course this was not only a surprise for Jayme but for the rest of our group, as I told no one about it.

Once the family was together again the rest of our group arrived and we all road the Little Mermaid together. But as we exited there seemed to be a desire to let everyone kinda do there own thing. So Suzanne’s daughter and the kids headed one way and Suzanne and her husband orphaned, came with us.

First stop was California Screaming. Suzanne, Jayme and Joshua all rode the coaster while Robert and I scouted out a place for ice cream. We all then headed up towards the Hollywood area. On the way we stopped in to see if we could add Suzanne and Robert to our lunch reservation at Wine Country Trattoria. We had World of Color dining reservations at 1:00pm. They said they could, so we happily headed up to Muppets.

By the time we made it out of the show it was lunch time, our group made it back down to the restaurant quickly. But once there Suzanne decided not to dine with us (and commit to World of  Color, more on that in a bit) but to find her own family, which lead to a few minutes of confusion for the waitstaff and us. But it did not detract from the lunch which was great.

It was a price fixed lunch with only a few options as we ordered the World of Color package. The package gets you fast pass admission to a reserved area for the nightly World of Color show. We have done simlar packages in Disney World for Fantasmic, so we understood the value we were getting in exchange for a smaller menu. Both Joshua and I had the lasagna and Jayme ordered the kids pasta. The lasagna was great, but the kids pasta was wheat based and Jayme didn’t even touch it. Again he just ate off our plates. But the show stopper was the desserts. They brought us out 2 identical plates of little bit sized chocolates and shot glasses filled with flavored custards and mousse, and even two shortbread lolly pops cookie things. It was great! After lunch the three of us headed back to the hotel for a well earned nap.

Once we woke refreshed we headed back to the park and rode Tower of Terror. This ride is one that I have not gone on since my first trip to Disney World back in the mid 90’s. But for Jayme’s sake I did it and hated it. Jayme and Joshua of course loved it.

Once out of tower Suzanne called, she had the kids and wanted to hook back up with us. We met the four of them in Bugs Land and rode Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train… I preferred Tower of Terror. But the cool thing is the kids got to spend some fun time together and I was chosen by Suzannes granddaughter to ride with her… so I felt pretty special.

After we left Bug’s land we decided to spring for ice cream for the group. We headed over to the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain. Joshua headed in a bought everyone ice cream cones. Suzanne’s grandson who has this own special needs, really had his heart set on eating ice cream from a ice cream place he saw at the front of the park. So while Joshua fed the masses, I took Suzanne’s grandson on a hunt to find Clarabell’s ice cream, which we did find. It was the same brand of ice cream that the other kids had, but he was SO happy. We took some amazing photos of the three kids pigging out on their ice cream, laughing and smiling. It was a great happy moment and one I will always remember.

After our feast we rode the Little Mermaid again (Jayme hated it) and then had to say goodbye to the group again. It was time for us to get into place for World of Color. We so wished we could have convinced the others to come with us.

Taking our waiters suggestion we arrived 1 hour prior to show time. Here is how Disney discribes it: The World of Color nighttime water spectacular weaves water, color, fire and light into a kaleidoscope of fantasy and imagination. More than 1,000 jets of water form incredible shapes in time to the music as Disney and Disney•Pixar characters come to life on a shimmering veil of mist. 

We arrived in our reserved area and were able to get right up to a metal fence that directly faced the lagoon. Within minutes of our arrival we had people standing behind us. Before the show started all the room had been filled in, we had one of the best spots for the show. The show itself is amazing and worth the wait and the lunch reservation.  We felt horrible that we could not share this with the rest of the group!

After the show we cut across back towards Car’s Land to escape the rush of the crowd leaving after the show. It gave us a chance to see Radiator Springs all lite up in neon. It also gave us a chance to buy some more Disney pins for our pin board.

Shopping completed, we headed up towards Tower of Terror and caught the last Red Line Trolly to the front of the park. From there, we headed of to our beds.

 

DAY FIVE

The three of us woke up and headed down for breakfast with the group. Suzanne’s daughter was still tired so she and her daughter stayed behind to get some more sleep. The rest of us headed over for a 2nd day in Disneyland.

Today was make up day, a day to get all the things we missed before done, and Jayme had a long list.

First stop was Star Tours followed by Matterhorn. By the time lunch rolled around Jayme had lead his two dads around the park twice. We had a snack lunch, we ordered a large meal platter at the mexican restaurant with a side order of chips. The three of us all split it and then headed back to the hotel for our afternoon nap.

We didn’t plan on it, but our last day in Disney kinda became our families alone day on the trip. Once we got back to the park we did not see or hear from the rest of the group until dinner time. I was so happy Joshua came down or it would have been a very lonely day for Jayme and me. We walked out to Downtown Disney and ate dinner at the Jazz Kitchen. Dinner was pricy and just ok, but Joshua really enjoyed the desert (Bread Pudding).

Afterwards, we rode the Monrail back in and used our last fastpass for Space Mt. and a special pass Suzanne had picked up to ride Thunder Mt. again after dark.

 

DAY SIX

The plan was to head out early the next day for Universal Studios. So we called it an early night and grabbed juice and snacks from the 7-11 and had a little TV party in our room before bedtime.

The next morning we woke up and found our group had shrunk. Suzanne’s daughter, son in law and the grandkids had all decided to skip Universal and have a hotel day. It was an expensive  decision as the tickets were non-refundable, but they were all just too tired to do another day in a park.

We had planned to rent a car since there was no room in the van for Joshua in for the ride over, but Suzanne offered to drive us over and once there they decided to stay with us.

Both Robert and Suzanne rented scooters at the park. There was just no way the two of them could have handled all of the walking and standing that park required. The upside is it let us line pass some pretty horrible lines in the direct sun. But the down side is the scooters also slowed our day down, Joshua and I have never crawled through a park so slowly before. So it was a very different experience for us, not bad, just differnt. It did made us both very grateful that we still have full use of our legs for hopefully a few more decades.

We rode the Simpsons, the Mummy, the new amazing transformers ride and even Jurassic Park. Once we had knocked those out we had essentially done the park. Universal Studios California is NOTHING like the one in Florida, it’s tiny and everything is so on top of each other. No Men in Black, no Harry Potter, no Islands of Adventure and their CityWalk is more of a town mall then a hip shopping and dining area. It is also a theme park with very little foliage. No matter were we went there was no shade, something the park tried to cover up with mist fans every 30 feet. But this park was just too dang HOT. Jayme, Suzanne and myself all got some sort of heat sickness throughout the day.

The famous Universal tram ride is now a dull ride through the heat. With the exception of the new 4-D King Kong part of the ride (which was amazing). All in all it was just hot and boring. We ended our day with the Shrek movie ride (same as the one in Florida) and a little bit of shopping. It was a fun day, but we will not be going back to Universal for a long time. The Florida version is just so much better and even that one we only visit every other trip.

 

DAY SEVEN

The next morning our trip was coming to an end. The three of us woke early and drove to LAX and dropped Joshua off for his early morning flight. Once back at the hotel Jayme and I skipped the hotel breakfast in favor of IHOP. Jayme ordered chocolate pancakes and I had a nice omelet. We also had the pleasure of having Robert and Suzanne join us for breakfast.

After breakfast Jayme and I checked out of the hotel and loaded our bags into the van. We then headed over to Downtown Disney, Jayme had been good for the whole trip and really really wanted one of the RIDE MAKER remote control cars. So with Joshua’s permission, I caved, and we got one for him. He got to pick the shell, pick the wheels and even pick the engine type.

It was just after 12:30 when we left and Suzanne was back from dropping her daughter off at the airport so she picked the two of us up, saving us a long walk in the sun.

Once back at the hotel the two of us played around in the hotel and the van as we waited for the rest of our group to finish packing and check out. Once we all were loaded we headed back up the I-5 highway.

Now for the horror movie portion of our trip. There was a detour off I-5 due to some constuction and we ended up on Highway 99. Right before we reached Sacramento the kids needed an emergency pit stop. I pulled off the highway and followed the gas signs to what looked like a gas station from a zombie horror movie.

All the neon was off, the little store had a single bare lit lightbulb. We pulled around to the side of the station to the restrooms and exited onto the set… ahh I mean the park area. A row of broken telephone booths lined the wall, some with what looked like poo scattered around for effect. The bathrooms were in even worst shape. The overhead windows were broken with huge angled holes in the glass, moths and flies swarming overhead, darting in and out of the broken windows and the scary greenish neon bathroom ceiling light. And just to make it all that much more weird and scary, strange pooka music called to us from out of nowhere in the darkened field next to the station.

Those who had to go did, but as Jayme and I finished up a homeless man walked up to Suzanne’s granddaughter and mentioned how pretty she was and how she would “make a real pretty grandmother someday”. This caused her Dad to quickly remove her from the area and back into the van. We quickly all got back in the van and made a new land speed record back to the highway!

We made it to Sacramento a bit later then we had planned to. But so relieved to have made it there alive. We stayed at the Hawthorn Suites again.

 

LAST DAY

The next morning we started a bit later but still pretty early for the group. We made really good time on our drive home… that is until we hit Ashland again.

From the backseat we hear Jayme saying “My stomach hurts, I am going to throw up.” I do a frantic lane change and start aiming for the exit. But… I was not quick enough. Not only did Jayme throw up, he did a Linda Blair explosion of throw up. We found a gas station and I stripped Jayme down, changed his clothing and calmed him down. Suzanne with her years as a super waitress took charge of van clean up, she was a pro!

The small miracle was the two other kids just sat in the car completely unfazed by the whole event. It wasn’t until we were back on the road that they even seemed to notice.

We made it back home in time for dinner. Jayme and I had a wonderful time, but Jayme never wants to do a road trip again. He might be right… well at least not on a full stomach.

P.S. All of the trip photos are up on Shutterfly if you want to see!

Last day of school (and work)

 

This past school year just blew by. Seems like we just did Halloween cupcakes for the class and now it was June and the school year was over and done… and so was Anthony’s job. Anthony got laid off to make payroll room for the boss’ son (who’s unemployment had run out) to come back to work. At first it was a huge panic and emergency. But then we realized with Anthony being at home it meant Jayme would not have to enter a speical behavioral day care ($$$) for the summer. So the normal feelings that come with losing a job of 10 years, kinda didn’t really manifest. It was almost the best thing that could have happened.

Anthony’s last day was the week before Jayme’s, so with lots of new extra time on his hands, Anthony volunteered to help out for the last day of school. First we donated the supplies to make edible gardens. Oreo cookies, chocolate pudding,  several bags of gummy worms and other gummy bugs, green colored coconut grass and a whole bunch of fake flowers.

Anthony arrived about 12:30pm and got to watch the class work on the gardens. It was a lot of fun watching Jayme’s class make their little pudding gardens and then in 5 seconds destroy them and devour them all.

After garden time there was a planned fire drill. Anthony got to follow the kids out to the field for the last fire drill of the year. One funny/not funny moment happened at the end of the fire drill. All the kids were told to sit down and watch a little flash mob the teachers put together for the school. During the show one of the kids in Jayme’s class had ant’s in his pants and could not sit still or sit down. This was to be excepted as all of the kids in Jayme’s class have some sort diagnosis that would normally explain why a kid would have ant’s in his pants. The funny sad part took a few minutes for the staff and for Anthony to notice but the kid had quite litterly ANTS in his pants. It seems he sat down right on top of an ant hill… the poor little guy.

After the show and all of the ant’s and been removed the class broke up for Field day. Anthony was assigned Jayme and one of Jayme’s little classmates who they both knew well from Jayme’s birthday party and a play date at home. So the three of them headed around the field to all the different activities. First was the blow up slide, then we just had to go get bubble gun flavored snow cones, then a squirt bottle fight area, then it was throwing wet sponges at targets (Jayme’s head), T-ball, and then a rainbow parachute game (which reminded Anthony of Mr. Cronk and his own elementary school days). We ended with a potato sack race… and then the bell rang.

The end of Field day was a bit too much for Jayme who kinda fell apart and started crying. His classmate was ok but really wanted me to find him another snowcone. We headed back to the classroom and rejoined the class. Jayme’s teacher thanked Anthony for helping and told us both that we could sneak out early, which we did.

Summer here in Oregon has been a wet and cold one. It’s only now in the first part of July we have started to get some really nice weather. Each morning Anthony wakes up early, searches an applies for jobs, then makes breakfast for the Jayme. We then do 2 hours of homework, our goal is to get Jayme reading before school starts and we are really making progress. During the day Anthony drills him on sight words and at night Joshua reads books with him.

Frighttown Dragons End of the Season Potluck and party (or we hate T-ball part 2)

Jayme’s T-ball season came to end one week after school broke for the summer in a big potluck at Oaks Park.

Coach sent out a online sign-up form for each family to bring something to the potluck. Anthony was on top of it and of course over cooked. He made his spinach pasta salad, hawaiian style mac salad, a fresh lemon carrot salad, cajian cornbread and his Grandmothers raspberry marshmallow desert.

It took all three of us to carry all of the food to the car… this should have been our first sign that Anthony overcooked. We drove down to the amusement park in perfect wether. It was a wonderful day; sunny, warm and not a cloud in the sky. It was also the opening day for the summer season at the park, so the parking lot was full. We parked on the other side of the park, down by the roller skating rink (more on that later) and walked the whole park to find our picnic area.

We were one of the first to arrive and quickly helped layout all the food. On top of the food we brought there was this amazing bacon potato salad (which we have since recreated at home), lots of chips, hot dogs and brats.

While everyone assembled  coach handed out the ride bracelets and we slipped away to ride a few rides before lunch. The first ride was the ROCK-O-PLANE, it’s a blue wire cage that your locked into on a small ferris wheel. Since you travel upside down, professional coward Anthony stood and held the bags as our two brave hero’s Jayme and Josh locked themselves into their cage of doom. The first few times around Josh would hit the lock bar and the two of them would do a full upside down loop. It was about 2 mins’s into the ride that Anthony first noticed something wrong… No one was getting off. The wheel kept going and going and going and going. The operator started waving and trying to get his supervisors attention as he could not get the wheel to fully stop, slow yes, stop no. Our poor hero’s were stuck on the ride, going around and around for about 15 mins before a mechanic was able to come over and manually stop the ride so each rider could exit.

Freed from their cage we headed back for lunch, which was great! It was nice to talk to the other parents when we all didn’t have to watch the kids play t-ball.

Once lunch was done everyone headed out to ride the rides. Jayme grabbed us and away we went. We did all the rides even most of the little kid rides. The one that scared the HECK out of Anthony was the Screaming Eagle. For some reason Joshua felt this was an appropriate ride for Jayme. And Jayme had NO issue with this great plan. Once again Anthony held the bags but as he watched his son and Husband 100 feet in the air spinning to their deaths… he was forced to walk into the video game arcade to avoid  his very very rational fears.

Once we had done most of the rides we headed into the roller skating rink. Roller skating at Oaks park is something Joshua and Jayme have been doing for a while together. Each Saturday is Daddy Joshua day and the two of them head out and give Anthony a day off and get some one on one bonding time together. So the two of them were pros on their skates. Anthony… well his last time of skates was sometime in 1995. It took awhile but Anthony finally got his skating legs back, with only one fall on his butt!

The three of us must have been a sight as the T-Ball coaches 3 daughters took pity on us and kinda adopted us and hung out with us. It was very funny watching Jayme get his 7 year old flirt on with each of the girls.

We spend most of the afternoon skating. Everything was going great until they played YMCA. Right in the middle of C, Anthony fell down. Now to save face… Anthony decided to land ON his face, instead of his rear, because that would be embarrassing. When he got back up on his skates he had a HUGE egg sized swelling on the side of his face. He skated in and was mobbed by employees with ice packs and worried faces. He was in no pain, but he was done for the day.

After 20mins the swelling was gone but a nice black eye was starting to pop up. So we said our goodbyes and headed home.

Apart from Anthony failing on his face it was a wonderful day. The Dad’s still hate T-Ball but will aways love and cherish the memories all three of us had made this season.