Friday, May 29, 2009

Climbing out of a hole...

(thanks to graham at flickr for the photo)

It's been a while. I've neglected you. Let me tell you where I've been.

It had been sneaking up on me kind of like Swiper from Dora the Explorer. Armed with very little but a snack cake or two (or twenty) I was pretty much defenseless against the strong wave of hopelessness and loneliness that washed over me. If all it took was the incantation used by Dora, "Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping!! Swiper no swiping!!!", I would have triumphed over it. But the wave won and put me in a hole. A dash of self pity and a pinch of lethargy kept me there.

So why now? What has changed? Nothing...and everything. Nothing is that I'm still in Clinton and most all of the people I love and laugh with are nine hours from my embrace. Nothing is that I still continue to abuse myself with excess food and despise myself for it. Nothing is that we dance the same dance and know it well.

Everything is that I am starting a job in Columbia in just three days. Everything is that we are buying a house that doesn't feel like home but have very little choice here. Everything is that we are moving in less than a month. Everything is the time I planned to spend with my family and friends in July is gone. Everything and Nothing, that pretty much encompasses it all.

But, as I type these words out, I am reminded of a very simple phrase that has carried me through many a change. "Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today". Acceptance of where I am living, of myself, of my choices, of others, and of what is... that is my goal today. Which is why I am being honest with you. No silly funny post to get a laugh or two. Just a simple embrace of what is and where I am.

I'm not out of that hole entirely. In fact, I can't say for sure that tomorrow I won't find myself a shovel and start digging deeper. But what I do know is that getting it out of the dark and giving it a voice many times takes away its power.
So maybe when I do see that wave sneaking up on me there would be no harm in saying out loud three times strongly, "Swiper no swiping!".

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Friday, May 15, 2009

The Great Adventure continued...

The Water Park

We decided to not go to the concert for several reasons:

1. We were clueless as to who Mitchell Musso was (shame on us)
2. Our little kids were clueless as well - If Hand Manny or the Imagination Movers were there we would have all been front and center
3. Water Park, Water Park, Water Park
4. Bedtime, Bedtime, Bedtime

Well, we get in there and panic sets in for me because I'm sure someone's going to drown. This place is ginormous and I can't be everywhere at once! But that's what their more than 100 lifeguards nationally certified by Ellis & Associates were there for and the life jackets that they supply free of charge for the little ones who can't swim. What I should have been worried about is what I would look like after being sprayed and soaked one too many times in the kiddy water park area. Couldn't one adult come up to me and say "Uh, excuse me lady but your mascara has run down your face and you either look like a drunk raccoon or a middle aged mom trying to fit in with her goth kid. Wipe that crap off your face." But no, everyone, including the professor and my kids, all let me walk around like that. It's enough that I had to walk around in a bathing suit but for god's sake a bathing suit and running mascara! I was lookin' pretty and I didn't know it until we got back to our room. Where are the beautiful stand in Moms when you need 'em?


The kids had a blast! It is definitely one adult per young kid kind of waterpark. But once they are strong swimmers you can kick back and relax with a good book and an adult beverage if you want. Our favorite as an entire family experience was the pool with the basketball hoops and obstacle course.

Is it worth the price of Admission?

In a word, yes. Just the suites and the 80,000 sq. ft. Bear Track Landing™ (one of America’s largest indoor waterparks) are enough for a weekend getaway full of fun. But if you have more money to spend there are alternative ways to entertain your kids and yourselves such as:

  • Elements™ Spa – Featuring Aveda® products with eight treatment rooms
  • Scooops® Kid Spa – Featuring ice cream-themed treatments for tweens
  • Northern Lights™ Arcade – Over 100 video games and a ticket redemption center
  • Cub Club™ – Daily crafts, activities and bedtime storytelling
  • gr8_space™ – Tech Jockey will act as concierge for Internet stations, karaoke staging, movie and musical entertainment
  • MagiQuest – The first live action, fantasy adventure game of its kind in resort history (really awesome I must add - we didn't do this but we did observe someone else doing it - very cool)
  • Costumes, wand “toppers” and adornments available in retail to add to the Magic of MagiQuest
  • Howl In One™– State-of-the-art themed and interactive 18-hole miniature golf course

I'm always looking for ways to make my dollar go farther. As far as stretching it at Great Wolf, your best bet would be to consider bringing in your breakfast and lunch. There are lots of options for dining at the lodge

  • Camp Critter Bar & Grille™ – Themed family restaurant and bar
  • The Loose Moose Cottage™ – Themed gourmet buffet and food court (we had the opportunity to eat breakfast here - very nice with a room that overlooks the waterpark and kid level buffet for self-serve)
  • Pizza Hut Express®
  • Dunkin’ Donuts® coffee and sandwich shop
  • Bear Paw Sweets & Eats™ – Confectionery cafĂ© and hot dogs etc.
There is also lots of shopping opportunities with a gift shop, a Magiquest shop, a swimsuit store, customized crocs kiosk and airbrush tattoo kiosk. Gavin's "wolfie" came from the gift shop. Wolfie was in the room when we arrived as part of the VIF event. After tears and negotiations Gavin ended up with the stuffed animal and Anna got the beach ball.

And finally, right before we were leaving for home, Anna decided to be brave enough to stand next to Great Wolf Lodge's mascot, Wiley the Wolf, and get her picture taken. Given that he is a giant wolf dressed in hiking clothes anyone could understand her complete fear of Wiley.


The kids are already begging to go back. And we have decided that we will go again on our own dime. That says a lot for those of you who know the professor. It would be a great place to go with all the cousins too. Hmmm, anyone up for it? Bring your waterproof mascara!

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Great Adventure to Great Wolf Lodge: Part One

Being new to Review Blogging it has not been below me to seek out companies and products to review. I send them an e-mail introducing myself and rarely do I hear back from them. However, when I sent one to Great Wolf Lodge they replied back. Yes, I was just as surprised as you are. After all, I've just been killin' time with these blogs right? Yeah, that's what the Professor thought too. So they invited me and my family to a VIF (very important families) event for the grand opening of the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina. I was stoked. Given the fact that I would have to don a swimsuit and I still wanted to go says a lot about this place.

It took us about two hours to get there from the upstate of South Carolina. As we drove up to the lodge we were stopped by security. They needed to verify that we were staying at the hotel because it was officially closed to the public for the Mitchel Musso (best know for his role as Oliver Oken on Disney's Hanna Montana series)concert later that evening. I found myself feeling a little anxious, thinking 'oh my god, what if I'm not on the list?' type of thoughts. Once we gave my name and we were waved on through I found myself feeling a little excited, thinking 'oh my god, I am on that list!" type of thoughts. Just driving into the parking lot told us we were going to be treated as the VIF we had always aspired to be (uh, still waiting on that mom of the year award). I wish I had taken some pictures of the parking lot that day but thanks to Melissa of Spoiled Mommy you can see how fabulous it looked and there's even a picture of the security stop point.

The lodge itself is impressive. As you enter the atrium the outside it is flanked by two enormous sculptures. On one side it is the momma wolf and her cubs and on the other side it is the daddy wolf keeping watch.

The impressive three story grand atrium was full of families excited as we were and lots of staff to help us begin our Great Wolf Lodge adventure. It was gorgeous and the staff very friendly and attentive. Checking in we received our itinerary, room assignments, and wristbands. Who knew jewelry was part of this event? Actually, Great Wolf Lodge uses a technology known as RFID (Radio Frequency Identification). These bracelets or wristbands are encoded with your room information and credit card information. They act as your room key and wallet. When you check in a staff member securely attaches it to your wrist; it can't be taken off without ruining it. Obviously it can get're at a water park. I did feel a bit like cattle when I went to bed with it on but it was great when I went to get some coffee early the next morning.

All rooms in the Great Wolf Lodge are suites, with 9 different suite configurations. We stayed in one of the Wolf Den Suites. The kids about wet their pants when they walked into the room!
The suite has a faux-cabin that houses a bunk bed and their own 20” flat screen TV. In the main room, adults have a queen bed and full-size sleeper sofa and their own flat screen TV. The kid's cabin really makes it possible for the adults to stay up later than the kids which makes it feel more like a vacation and less like parent prison. This media picture shows the cabin. Thank god they included it because I could barely get my kids to sit still long enough to get a picture. They were literally climbing the wall like it was an in-room rock wall and popping in and out of the window. Finally I convinced them to climb up on the top bunk to get a photo.DSC05018gwl7

We went to a fabulous feast hosted by Radio Disney. All the glorious yummy food you could eat, child size buffets where they could serve themselves and a delicious BBQ buffet for the grown ups. The center pieces on the tables were stacks of various colored cotton candy which Gavin promptly claimed as his. Local Radio Disney personalities were on hand to liven things up. It was too loud for Gavin who tends to have some sensory issues and he spent most of the time with his ears plugged. Anna on the other hand was getting into it. Waving her complimentary Great Wolf towel and howling like a wolf with all the other crazy folks in there! Dippin' Dots and face painting ended that extravaganza. Anna decided to be a magical wolf which in her mind required lots of glitter. She was the first kid to ask for glitter on her face in addition to the wolf face paint. Leave it to my little drama queen.

href="" title="gwl10 by missmonkeymae, on Flickr">gwl10

We went back to the room to get our swim suits on (ugh -only for the love of my two children would I do this) because the kids were chompin' at the bit to get to the water park. Here's our magical wolf and her daddy in the wolf's be continued...

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wordless Wednesday 05-13-09

These boots were made for splashin'!
Wordless Wednesday 05-13-09SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

June CleaverImage via Wikipedia

I'm not in June's camp but I am a mom to two wonderful kids. The very kids who one minute I can love like there's no tomorrow and the next minute loathe their very existence that committing a felony doesn't seem like such a bad option considering the alternative.

And I am a daughter to a wonderfully loving, funny, and very human mom. She is always ready to help in any way she can. If Debbi can't help you she'll fret about it for you til the cows come home. I learned to clean the house with soundtracks playing. Even now if I get the urge to clean (which is far and few between) having Gigi or The Sound of Music playing makes the grind so much more pleasant. Don't you think life in general would be better if we all had a soundtrack as an audio backdrop?

Today, I have on my dining room table a wonderful floral arrangement sent to me from my mom and day. I received a very sweet card from my mother-in-law. Professor P and the kids baked me a chocolate cake which we ate for breakfast..."dad is great he feeds us chocolate cake". Then I was shooed out the door to go shopping in Greenville for a new camera. I am the proud new owner of a Canon PowerShot.

I also participated in a fun mother's day swap organized by Confessions of a Moody Mommy. My gift was sent to me by Neven of Picture Framing.
She sent me two wonderful magazines, yummy chocolates, and fabulous nail polish to get my toes ready for summer!


Then for dinner tonight the professor made yummy fettucine alfredo, garlic bread and salad. After baths we watched home movies of the kids when they were babies. Heavy sigh...big love. It was a great Mother's Day. I felt loved and cared for and that's all any mother can ask for.

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