Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Random Thought for the Week

Yeah, I realize this is a first for me. I might make this a weekly column!

I was driving home from Connecticut this past weekend and there were several "traffic incidents" on the opposite side of the road. As I drove along, I would just watch the drivers on the other side of the road thinking to myself, "Oh, if you only knew the traffic that lies ahead of you and what is causing it!" In life, we all travel in the same direction. There is no one who can say to us, "I was just where you are going yesterday. Watch out for the...." Or is there??

I have always found it comforting when I am going through difficult circumstances to know that I have a savior who has been there, gone ahead. Now, I wish He would share all the details with me, but He doesn't. So my peace that I feel? I guess it's the understanding that I don't have to fear the unknown because it is known. He knows.

And He walks with me, and He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

C. Austin Miles

Full Day Kindergarten Saga Continues....

So, here we are. Two weeks away from kindergarten registration and the situation is grim! It would appear now that the information I was given by the principal at the beginning of the year has changed. The county-wide class size limit for kindergarten is supposedly 22, but they will raise that to 27!!!!!!!!! for us next year. My mind cannot fathom one teacher, part time aide, 27 5 year olds all day long! Our principal is expecting a huge enrollment due to a couple factors, the first of which being free full day kindergarten. Added to this attraction is the before and after school care that will be available and the end of the kindergarten program the most popular day care center near the school.

Our plan is this: we are going to enroll Em in the school where I taught. The class size limit for kindergarten is 15 and they have 15 openings! The tuition is not outrageous - $2650 for the year for half day K. Most other private school around here are hitting the $4500 mark, so this is reasonable. Doable for us? We'll be tight!! This school has a half day program that includes art, music and P.E. as well as daily outdoor recess, something the public half day program claims to not be able to "fit in" to their day. I've never really understood why?? As a first grade teacher, I found that at least 95% of my students came to me reading, half of them reading fluently, so I'm not overly concerned about Em academically. She will also have a friend in her class who will be returning to the same public school the following year (possibly two friends).

In my heart, I would love to send her to the public school. It's where Kt is, she has been anticipating her bus ride, eating lunch at school, being with all her friends, etc. I just don't think I can accept that huge class size, though. At such a crucial developmental stage I am having a difficult time coming to terms with that number. What do you think????

I will also be registering her for public school. Should the class size end up not being an issue, I would send her there and we would eat the registration fee. However, the more I think about it, the more I feel like the private school might be best for Em. I wish I had all the info, but I don't. What I do have, I don't like!! What a dilemma!!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Brazil Reunion

Yesterday was my long-awaited "get to meet" the missionary that T and his space group spent 10 days with in Brazil last summer. (Is that a run on sentence???) It was great fun to meet him. I had to rush home from Connecticut to make it in time. GM was awesome, exactly as I had expected him to be, a true servant at heart. The joy and appreciation was written all over the faces of each of the team members that arrived to see him. I think everyone in this group would return in a heartbeat - it was an awesome trip. (More here....)

While I loved to meet him and chat a bit about him possibly bringing a group of Brazilians here this summer or next Jan, it was fun to watch the group meet again. I threw together a chicken chili dish that I made at Let's Dish last week (save that for another post!), and as they were all standing around the island in our kitchen I looked at T and said, "The last time everyone was here like this was the day you all left last summer!" It was kind of strange, like a deja vu moment. So little did we know, how excited and nervous everyone was, and how strangely silent it as after they all left. Just me and my girls for almost 2 weeks.

It was an honor to have GM visit us in our home yesterday, to serve him in some small way. We wish him safe travels today as he heads home to his family that he hasn't seen in a month. I'm certain it will be a well-received reunion! He mentioned one of his sons had saved over $200 for his father to purchase him an IPOD - he is waiting with bated breath for that baby! And his wife? Well, after last summer I am certain I know a bit how she feels. It's a long time to be a single parent.

Of course, my favorite part about this visit yesterday was briefly dreaming about what it might be like to host a group from Brazil. Some of our dreams: to hook up with someone in NYC, to do an outreach together in our own community, to give them a taste of real life in America. GM mentioned that it will be eye opening for them to realize that life in America is not like Disney World every day (of course, I don't really know what he's talking about - of course it is! - haha). I also, for myself, want to understand a little bit about what it was like for T and his group to build these relationships with these Brazilians. I want to meet them, to get to know them, to spend time with people from another culture.

And this summer? Well, we're still waiting on that one. It won't be long now. T and I are debating what to do about our own vacation, which seems to become less important each year. One day I hope to take our whole family on one of these trips. Not that it will be our vacation, but I can't wait to take our girls somewhere. With limited vacation time, limited funds and more space trips, our time for us is shrinking a bit - but it's all good for now. Maybe I'll somehow convince T to take us to Disneyland....

From Fireworks to Villains

As I make it once again to level 5, get my 1,900 credits, a fireworks magic pin and an ice cube chair, I wonder to myself, "Why am I doing this?" The truth is, I'm not really sure, but because I've always been overanalytical, I'll take a stab. It's the community!

Never in my life have I been sucked into a game like I have with this one. Kt and I started in August when I signed her up to play VMK, which stands for Virtual Magic Kingdom. The email introduction sounded something like this, "Wouldn't you love to be a cool parent??" At least that's how I remember it! I think they meant my child would love me for signing her up for this game. Little did they know they would end up with a bunch of addicted parents!!

After a couple months of just goofing around, I mentioned to T that I thought there might be some adults playing this game. He kind of laughed at me, but I'm sure he thought I was the only one. The truth is, Kt couldn't play any of the games well enough to get any credits. She loved just walking around, chatting with her "friends" and visiting their rooms. She also loved buying the clothes, furniture, and costumes. I have to admit, I thought it was fun, too, so we kept playing occasionally for fun.

This continued until the first big "event" for Halloween. It was then that I discovered a "fan site" that had lots of codes for lots of credits, hints on how to play the games and also had an avid trade board. I checked in with this fan site pretty regularly, but never really participated. I wasn't sure who I could trust, the posts happened so fast I couldn't keep up (I'm really old... well my fingers are, anyway!) and I just really felt kind of lost. Kt and I continued to enjoy our short and sweet visits to the game.

Then came December... not only did VMK do some fun Christmas things, but I found another "fan site" and one of the first polls on there was "How old are you?" Just for fun, I entered myself and found that the results were exactly as I'd expected. More adults than children actually playing this game! I was floored, but finally felt like I might not be alone. It was this site that actually sucked me into the game more than the game itself. Why?

First, I've found some friends on this site. One, in particular, who is a mother of 4, homeschools, lives in Texas and plays vmk with her kids. It has been a lot of fun chatting with her, sharing some goodies that were sent to me by my friend's in Orlando, and just being moms who love a kid's game. Another friend is an extremely generous player, and it's been fun to watch him and his girlfriend encourage goodness among some of the younger and "older" players. And yet another, a homeschooled player who I know is a Christian and really emulates his good values and honesty in the game.

Second, the community that has been built on this message board is tight knit, yet open. It is protective of it's members yet practices restraint. It is supportive and kind to other players yet watches out for it's own like hawks. I don't believe anyone has visited and felt unwelcome, although we have those occasional strays. When a new member "scammed" others in trades, everyone banded around and decided not to ban this other player, but to always warn those who might enter a trade agreement with her. When another player was "scammed" (those kids are always getting scammed!) from our site, there was an outpouring of generosity from other members who stepped up instantly to replace all items lost. It was this banding that got the attention of the VMK staff, who stepped in and fixed the problem.

Finally, I feel like a productive and active member of something novel. I'm sure there are other games that have created this kind of community, in fact, I know of some. None of them have been my kind of game. This one is! Both my girls enjoy it, I enjoy it and we are working on T, but he's so busy!! We have found ways to contribute to the group, we have been able to maintain our behavior standards and communicate them with other players. As an example, there is a free game you can download, play and win a room for VMK. Many kids are not allowed to do this and others cannot get the game to work for them. As older players, we collect codes, pass them along and have discouraged the practice of trading for something that is free. We have repeatedly praised the younger kids for abiding by their parents wishes and tried to encourage their generosity. It's a safe, supportive atmosphere.

In thinking through some of these things, it occurred to me that we ought to be acting in much the same way as the church. Not gaming - that's probably a waste of time, but fun! I want to be a part of something that makes a good impression on someone, a community that is active, supportive, protective and brazen. I want others to be drawn in by a sense that something is different here, that it's a novelty, the way we treat eachother. I want the church to reek of generosity, goodness and love, peace and friendship. It's kind of easy online, when we don't have to live together, when we can turn everyone off with the click of the mouse, or snicker without anyone hearing us or seeing us do it. As a church, we are called to live together, get along, draw others in to experience the goodness, love and peace of Christ.

Another interesting thought I had was that unless I put myself out there, in many creative and innovative ways, there is a whole culture of people I will never know. I'm guessing quite a few members of this message board would never step foot in a church, many of them live on the west coast and a lot of them are kids who play computer games all day. When would I ever have the chance to get to know them, to make any kind of impression on them, to LEARN from them (I've done a lot of that!) and to listen to them? I bet most of these kids, if they were to meet me in real life, would take one look, laugh and walk away. On this board, we engage in regular conversations about the game, about random things, about life... It's a great way for me to become involved in a world that I would not know any other way.

As you might have gathered from this post, I've spent quite a bit more time gaming this month than blogging!! That will have to change, and the end of Expedition Everest month tomorrow will certainly help. However, I find myself involved in a Villain Tournament next month. I am a member of "Hades Flames" and I honestly don't want to know what that is! I'm actually a bit scared by the name, but my team leader is very excited. I just don't know if I'm cut out for this villain stuff - I hope he can live with my light!

Friday, February 24, 2006

Tagged AGAIN!

I'm not a fan of this tagging stuff. I KNEW this morning when I read Jeremy's blog and he tagged T that I would be next! UGH!

Here I go:

Four jobs I've had:

babysitter, "gopher," a.k.a. receptionist/bookkeeper/secretary/housesitter, camp counselor, teacher

Four movies I can watch over and over:

On Golden Pond, St. Elmo's Fire, Beauty and the Beast, Pride and Prejudice

Four TV shows I love to watch:

Any CSI, Trading Spaces, Law & Order - SVU, Will & Grace

Four places I've been on vacation:

Driven across the country three times, Hawaii, Bahamas, England/Scotland, DisneyWorld (oh, that's 5, but who's counting!)

Four favorite dishes:

Lenox, Pfaltzgraf, (oh, wait, does this mean food?)

Pizza, eggs benedict, Sun-dried tomato and chicken with pasta, chef salad

Four websites I visit daily:

Foxnews, Washington Post, VMK, VMKingdom

Four places I'd rather be:

with my family in CT, at the beach in a warm place, with friends, in heaven, of course!

Four blogs I'd like to see this on:

YOURS, and that's it - I don't like tagging people, but if you WANT to be tagged, consider yourself tagged!

(Yes, I'm always the one who breaks the chain!!!! So DON'T send me your chain letters!)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I Saw a Sign

I saw this sign and couldn't resist using my new toy cameraphone!! It was hysterical! I'm not sure if it is just a sign or a "sign" because I was just leaving a furniture store where I found a sofa, loveseat, chair set we are thinking about purchasing. Hmmmm..... we aren't big spenders, so this is throwing a big wrench in my plan!!

Outlet Shopping

I am a sucker for cheap items. In fact, I'm sort of addicted to getting the best deal possible!! I do have my limits, of course, but I just can't pass up a great deal most of the time. In many ways, a good deal justifies (for me) splurging on something I really want. I guess that would make my saving null and void!

We have several outlets in Maryland/Virginia, so they really do have to be good. T and I both agree that the best deals can be found in Hagerstown. We go there a couple times a year and they beat the Mills and Prime Outlets Leesburg by far. They are pretty much in the boon docks, unless you like to ski in the winter or visit Civil War battlefields. They are on the way to Deep Creek, Pittsburgh, West Virginia (I think??) and a host of other vacation destinations - catch my drift?? I mean, no one ever passes through unless they have a serious reason!

Last fall, T and I went to Hagerstown and they were advertising the opening of one of my favorite stores, Gymboree. Now, in the regular mall scene, this store would be considered a chain boutique of sorts. The clothing is actually, for the most part, pretty high quality, a little trendy or even trendsetting and extremely overpriced. When I shop at Gymboree in the mall, I never buy at full price - it's just wayyyy too painful!! So, you can imagine my utter joy when they advertised an outlet, something I know they have not really done before. I've occasionally come across Gymboree clothing at TJMax or Marshall's, but I've never seen an actual Gymboree Outlet. Truth be told, I was EXTREMELY skeptical that they would actually do this, so I really didn't get my hopes up too high.

When we returned to Hagerstown this past weekend, Gymboree was on the top of my list. It's funny, because my girls are basically almost out of that cutesy clothing. Kt would rather shop at The Limited Too (which I'm not a big fan of!) and Em LOVES her hand-me-downs, something I'm trying to capitalize on before she realizes they used to be Kt's!!

Anyway, we meandered into this "Outlet" to find exactly what they called it, with a little Gymboree twist! I recognized (I'm really an addict) all the lines from last spring. I was shocked to find clothing that only last summer was on total clearance in the stores retagged at very reduced prices, but still not as low as the clearance clothing at the end of a season. The difference is that at the end of a season in Gymboree, you can rarely find anything that matches in the right sizes, and here, we had bucket loads of these lines at some greatly reduced, but still inflated prices.

They also had many of these retagged clothes at discounts, some 50% off the tagged price, which was really a great bargain for these clothes, but still enough to limit the amount purchased. It was a very pleasant surprise, I think, and I look forward to returning!

Of course, you just cannot beat the Children's Place Outlet at Hagerstown - bathing suits for $1, shoes for $2 and snow boots for $3. I mean, for Pete's sake, it's better than going to a thrift store!!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Checking in!

I know I've been an absent blogger this week. I'm enjoying some time with my mom AND trying to fit in some calligraphy. I'm addressing wedding invitations for someone and trying to get them done before I leave for CT on Friday.

My mom is helping me purge, so it's nice! I've cleaned out all my kitchen cabinets and drawers, reorganized my junk and have boxes for Good Will. I had been hoping to attack the basement, but I think we did a good thing by cleaning out the kitchen.

Friday I am heading up to CT to spend a weekend with my mom, without all my responsibilities, i.e. my kids and house and husband. It will be weird. T's had lots of weekends away from us but I can't hardly remember any. I think the last one might have been when my dad died, I went to CT without everyone. Very strange. That was three years ago. 3/3/03 3 years ago... Hmmm...

Well, back to work for me. I think the amount of cleaning that needs to be done here will be endless...

Monday, February 20, 2006

Today is my Birthday!!!!

And I've been shopping allllll day! Actually, my mom came in Friday (well, Saturday) at 2 am, we hung out all day, had T's parents over for Chinese food for dinner, went to church yesterday and then took off for a night of fun and outlet shopping. We just got back and I'm checking in before heading out to Don Pablo's. We have to go kid friendly for dinner and as it is, they aren't that happy with Mexican.

I hope everyone is enjoying President's Day today. We hit some great sales, so it was fun for us. It's always nice to have a day off and I have enjoyed having the girls around, not having to get ready for school and just have a "normal" day as my birthday. It's been very special.

Any guesses as to how old I might be??? (D, S and T - off limits to you!!!)

Add: Wow! No takers on the age guess? Hmmm.... I can understand that. I'm still young enough to admit to my age - 36! Now, in a few more years this could change.... Thanks, well-wishers. Nice to know I have *clears throat* five readers! That would be my three well-wishers, T and my mom, who I'm currently holding hostage in MD!

Friday, February 17, 2006

movie quotes

I have never been good at spouting off quotes let alone impersonations or even coming up with the name of a movie. It always amazes me when people can do that because I can't!

Tonight at dinner, Em said to me, "Mommy, what movie is this? 'Am I just eating because I'm bored?'" I just looked at her kind of funny. I thought she didn't know the answer (because I'm so slow!). Kt was sitting across from her trying to tell me the answer so I guessed "Spongebob." Em generally gets her movies mixed up with TV.

They both laughed at me and said in unison, "The Grinch!" I was quite surprised. Emily said the quote again and even mimicked the grinch. Scary! Well, if that wasn't frightening enough, Kt, a huge Spongebob fan since the show originated, started to mimic Squidward (?) and she sounded just like him!!

Now, I'm slightly impressed and even more embarrassed! I'm impressed that both my children have acquired a skill I've lacked my entire life, embarrassed that they've just quoted two shows (movie and show) they likely watch too much of! Now, I had to write this quickly so I didn't forget the names!


My 5 year old just told me to look up my neighbor's number in the "cell phone book." Can you even imagine what one of those would look like!!

One Thing

There is ONE thing I love about Maryland. Only one that I can think of right now, anyway! It's this:
You can go to bed with a foot of snow on the ground and wake up to is having disappeared! I LOVE that!! The first time experienced this we had had over 3 feet of snow. It had been on the ground for a few days and I was wondering if I'd ever see grass again! One morning, I opened the front door and all I saw was a complete fog and not a speck of snow anywhere. I've never seen snow melt so fast! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!!

Unfortunately, our wonderfully warm weather is giving way to a cold front - brrrrr!!! It's windy and becoming very cold out right now. Em really wanted to go to the park, but it's just a little too windy for me right now. That smell of melted snow is a good reminder to us that spring is just around the corner. YEAH!

(Incidentally, when I drove around our circle to take this picture of our house, Em asked me what I was doing. When I informed her I was just taking a picture for my blog she replied, "Oh, I thought maybe we were selling our house or something!" Do I have a future real estate agent on my hands, or what??? And just 5 years old!)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

"Symbol Pictures"

Having grown up during the time of typewriters as opposed to computers, this "symbol picture" stuff is all new to me. I mean, when your typing class consists of correction tape, ticking and little "dings" who would even think to experiment with trying to create pictures with characters??? Cleaning up a bit around here, I came across an old paper I'd written in 8th grade. I even remember typing it up on the old Remington on that onion paper. Oh, the pains we went through. If kids today only knew how easy they had it!!

On a message board for one of my newest time wasters, I have managed to find myself surrounded by a younger generation and have learned a lot culturally from them. I find them all SO creative, innovative and lots of fun - but all that for another post! One "thread" they all started was on "symbol pictures" and I got permission from the queen of them all to post some of her creations. I believe these are created in her keyboarding class at school. Hmmm.... sounds fun! Unlike my "typing" class taught by some retired secretary from the 50's!

Here are a few: (I hope they work on this site!)

These are copyrights of the VortexQueen lazy people, designs, computer produtions. All above designs belong to the company and are illegal to use unless asked and approved.
.............,...(_/....... this is fun in the sun

._____****__________**** ______
___***____***____***__ *** ____


¸.´¸.*¨) ¸.*¨)
(¸.´ (¸.´ .´ ¸¸.•¨¯`• just a heart.

One of the reasons I LOVE the last one is that another 30something poster on that thread followed that with this:


I call this a line.

I laughed so hard when I read that!

These kids posted picture after picture, some really good, some totally cryptic but most of them showed a reasonable amount of creativity. Many added color (something we NEVER had on a typewriter - at least not mine!) and lots of them, like this artist, had "copyright"ed them. Not sure how that works, but I will ask you not to copy these. You are more than welcome to copy the link.

This thread gave me a glimpse into a far different world than the one that I remember back in the 80's in high school. It's a small example of how us older folks need to remember that times are so different now. Moreso than even the difference between us and our own parents. I think this generation is linked to the world in a way that we never were, and they can communicate in ways that we might not even expect or think to listen to.

I have been formulating a post in my head on community that has a bit to do with these symbol pictures and the things that they represent. For these kids, this is fun, creative, an outlet and an expression of who they are and what they stand for. It's so much more than clothes and a look these days - are we even in touch with this generation? How can we forge a way into their world? and where will they allow us to??? All that and more, coming soon!

Thanks, VortexGirl!!


My mom sent me an email earlier in the week with a link to this real estate estimate site. You type in your address (or any address) and it pops up with other home "prices," either sales data or estimate. That information was not clear to me. In a matter of seconds, a value pops up on screen with the supposed value of the property.

I was a little skeptical about this because upon entering our information a value popped up that didn't seem to come close to recent sale prices of homes in our neighborhood (and neither did the other values of other properties) and in the small circle of home values was included a very small value ($87,000) that must have been for property or improperly input. I mean, really, where can you buy a home for that price in Howard County, MD, or any suburb for that matter. I'm guessing that amount factored into the lowered home values for the rest of the properties.

The Washington Post has an article today cautioning against the use of this tool to properly evaluate the market value of a property. All in all, it's a fun thing and I wouldn't tell you not to try it, just proceed with caution!! My mom seemed to think it was pretty accurate, but for me, I just don't think I agree with it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

My Sweetie!

Today I had a couple of places to run early on. Because of our Monday snow day, I had double duty, as I had signed up to help at Em's school for the Monday Valentine's party (now postponed to today) and every Wednesday I tutor at Kt's school. I ran first to Kt's school, then to Em's. I'm a little dizzy right now!!

Em chose the color for this post as it's got her picture in it! This is Em at her preschool party enjoying ranch dip - for real! They had it for veggies and she was scooping spoonfuls onto her plate and shoveling it into her mouth minus the veggies! We are going to have to work on those eating habits!!

Our V-Day was fun. I made chicken Parmesan, got some roses (we are all going to be sneezing by tomorrow!) and some other spa goodies. It was a fun night. T and I also watched a movie - I can't remember the name of it. Maybe "A Little Bit of Heaven"? Anyway, it was cute.

Well, off to spend some time with my kids! I've been mulling around a post of "community" - how to build one, how it draws people in, different dynamics. You'll never guess what prompted me to even think of it - and I'll save that info for the post!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hearts All Around!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

I'll try something new today, add a splash of color! Today is one of my favorite days of the year. It was especially fun when I was teaching. Kids really are what make valentine's day so special. They write the funniest things on their cards. When I was young, my sister was in the hospital with Reye's Syndrome for about a week. She is fine now, but I remember when she was home recovering her classmates (all second graders) sent her valentines or get-well cards. The funniest one was from a little boy and went like this:

Roses are red,
Violets are yellow,
When I think of you,
My knees turn to Jell-O.

I thought it was adorable and we all laughed so hard about that one. We still quote it once in a while. What a goofy thing for a kid to write or even think of. I wonder if he had a little help? Who knows!

T and I have opted tonight, as we have for all our Valentine's Days with our children, to stay in and have a special dinner just with them. I honestly can't imagine celebrating it away from them. Maybe that's just the teacher in me. It's so important to them and for us, well, he can take me out any day of the year and make it romantic. (Well, OK, maybe that's a stretch - fun, anyway!) This is the perfect day to teach our children about love.

Well, I'm off for now to get dinner started - Chicken Parmesean, Salad, Strawberries - sliced so they have that heart shape!, corn - because they all love it, garlic bread - I may have forgotten this, have to have T pick some up on the way home - hehe, and some heart cookies. I guess T will have to wait in line with his garlic bread behind the hundreds of men who have to pick up flowers. They had a whole table set up at the grocery store today just for roses - and roses were everywhere!!! We are all allergic to them in our house (boohoo!). Last night at the mall - lines out the door at Godiva. The smart men who thought ahead!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Go Fairfield!!

My mom just emailed me that the snowfall record for this storm was set in Fairfield - 30 inches!! That may only be for CT. I'm surprised, as it's a coastal town typically getting more of the icy rainy stuff than snow. But YEAH!! Go Fairfield!! My poor mom!

UPDATE: And, to boot, Fairfield had a "delayed opening" today - not even a snow day! Now that's New England for you!

Shut Down

As is typical in MD, around 18 inches of snow has effectively shut down anything that doesn't generate money! All schools in the state are closed. We had an entire day to dig out, plow, dry up and even melt a little. Apparently, some neighborhoods were never plowed. Ours, fortunately, was not one of them. YEAH!!

Last night my neighbor A called and invited us to go swimming. I'm so glad she wasn't calling to go sledding! I've seen pictures of sledders, read articles about it and even watched a bit on TV. I used to LOVE sledding. I grew up on "Church Hill Road" and the 'hill' was awesome, other than the busy road at the bottom! If we got enough snow, the plows would build up a rather large bank that would usually provide a barrier between careening sledders and the cars below. The occasional huge tree in our path was also an issue, as was the huge sign at the bottom for the church.

I can remember once having a snowman building contest there. My best friend and I pushed a tiny snowball down the hill first and then made it about half the way up before it was larger than us! Our snowman had to be completed right in the middle of the hill! Ah, those were the days!

We also used to make these funny sledding paths down the snowbanks created in the church's parking lot (which only about 10 cars can even fit in!). We gave them names like "The Sizzler" or "The Twister" and used her mom's vinyl placemats to sled them. It was hysterical. I think we used names from all the rides we used to love at the "Assumption Fair," a spring carnival at the local Catholic church. We would spend hours outside doing this.

The girls had their fun yesterday. We didn't take them "real" sledding, but they did sled down our little neighborhood hills. Someday we'll take them to a real sledding hill, maybe even in Connecticut. I hear they have plenty of snow to last even a few weeks possibly!!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Conversation Hearts

We are getting those valentine's ready for this week! I bought the girls valentine cards and then a whole big bag of "Conversation Hearts" individually packaged for each valentine. I noticed a couple things that intrigued me. First, there are only about 10 little candies in each one, as opposed to the boxes we used to get as kids. I think they still sell those boxes, too! Secondly, I ate a bag myself, a little nostalgia I guess. One of the hearts said "PAGE ME" - like, what?? What has become of conversations today??

Calling All Polar Bears!!

The snow has landed!! It's a "winter wonderland" outside, as you can tell, I'm safely tucked away until the next sign of spring! As it typical in the DC area, everything is closed. This time around, though, the plows actually came this morning!! Last time we had snow dumped on us we waited a few DAYS for the plows. Harrowing experience, especially with my neighbor about to have a baby!

I'm guessing we have around 2 1/2 feet of this stuff. The girls are dressed and out playing, T is dressed and shoveling, I'm still in my pajamas because I had to get everyone dressed, take pictures, etc. I'm considering heading out there myself, but I'm not sure. I have a real aversion to cold these days. I get what my brother lovingly refers to as "honkey red ear" and you can add various other body parts to that! I also get very itchy extremities - they will itch for hours after I come in, no matter how many layers I put on. Hands, feet, legs - it's awful.

OK - tmi, I know! So now I have to decide. Go out and shovel or bake chocolate chip cookies and plan my next couple of days around the snow?? There is no telling whether or not we will have school. I'm hopeful, as the snow has completely stopped, giving them plenty of time to prepare. However, it is Sunday so one never knows how many people they could round up for plowing, clearing, etc. Since our court is plowed, I'm very, very hopeful!

Well, I'm off to do something - I'll have to let you know what later!! Enjoy the pics!

The first picture is our backyard, second (taken from the living room) is our front yard, lamp post, and the last is a view from our front door. We are excited the plow came, although he got stuck in some ice, so we are a bit worried what lies underneath all that snow!!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Worst Traffic Cities

I was doing my daily news reading, I'm a bit addicted to news... I came across and article on worst traffic cities and I am flabberghasted that NYC did NOT make it on the list!! How can that be??? Growing up about an hour outside of NYC among thousands of commuters, I would beg to differ. Case in point:

My brother and his wife had a flight out of LaGuardia on a Friday night at 7pm. They rented a car and left at 4 PM for this 45-60 minute drive INTO the city, mind you, against the traffic. Actually, there is no such thing in NYC as "against the traffic" so that last statement, well it's meaningless. The drill is always to rent a car and turn it in at the airport - cheaper than driving and parking, taking a shuttle and less of a hassle than finding someone to drive you into NYC on a Friday night!

I happened to at my mom's that night when they called me from somewhere in the city at around 6 PM. They had been in bumper to bumper traffic for 1 1/2 hours, had moved only 5 miles. After calling the airport, they found that they still had at least 1/2 an hour to go and wanted me to check on the airline (JetBlue) about any possible delays. I had my mom's cellphone on one ear with my brother, my mom's phone on the other talking to JetBlue about their options. I had maps, traffic reports, reservations pages all on the computer. We very quickly concluded that my brother would not make it, although we all agreed he'd given himself almost 3 hours to get there on time. The airline was VERY GENEROUS about rebooking them for the next morning, so I told my brother to keep the rental, turn around and come home. Which he did.

The next morning, for their 7 AM flight, they left at 4 am, arrived at the airport at 4:45 am, before it even opened, and waited until their flight left.

Do you really think NYC should not be on that list???

On a side note, their return flight, not dependent on traffic, happened to be the day of the huge NY area blackout - and they were then stuck in Seattle. Remind me never to fly anywhere with my brother!!

On a SECOND sidenote, my brother had booked their first hotel in Seattle through a website trip planner (can't remember which one) and in their fine print, you had to cancel any reservations 1 week in advance! so he ended up paying for that hotel night even though they never stepped through the door!


What can ruin one night away???? Only one thing: SNOW, SNOW and more SNOW!! Well, I guess there are a myriad of other things, too, and even a bit more disastrous, but for me, right now, it's SNOW! And hardly any of it!

The plan went like this: we got T's parents to agree to take the girls for one night and chose to go somewhere closeby. I chose (it is my birthday) Leesburg, VA, the home of the Pottery Barn Outlet!! Very excited to go, until the word SNOW was mentioned just a couple days ago. Now, I know this was a recent development because I check the weather faithfully.

Even though we had this bleak outlook we went ahead with our plan. T left work early, we drove the girls to his parents. When we left it was supposed to start snowing Sat night, rain/snow mix, so I figured we would have at least until the afternoon to shop! By the time we got there, a blizzard was on it's way!! Snow beginning at 9 am, heavy by noon and the worst of it?? You guessed it (maybe) the I-95 corridor, right where we live in MD.

We decided to have dinner at Friday's, likely the smallest one on the world!! We waited 30 minutes, it was FREEZING and by the time dinner was over, we decided to head back to the hotel and skip our hour of shopping time that was left. It was fun - but very short!

So, the plan went like this. I set our alarm for 8 am, didn't sleep hardly a wink, got up and no snow. Hmmm... maybe some shopping?? Checked back at 8:30 - blizzard!! So, we quickly changed our plan. Better get home before we are stuck, pick up the girls so T's mom wouldn't freak out and head home.

We weren't 10 minutes outside of snow-covered Leesburg when there was not only no snow, but no precipitation! We shopped a bit at a mall, had lunch with T's parents and the girls and are home now. Still, very little snow, nothing on the ground. How do I feel about this??? The bottom line is that I hate snow!

UPDATE: Well, the snow finally arrived. We just drove home in it. We have about 4 inches outside and the roads are getting pretty bad. I think it's supposed to snow all night, which will probably mean our visit to the "real" megachurch - McLean Bible - in VA will likely not happen. Oh well!! Maybe better luck next time. I'm more disappointed that we won't be able to meet up with our friends, who are dedicating their third child whom we have never even met - boohoo!! for real!

Have I mentioned my loathing of snow???

Friday, February 10, 2006

Web Advertisements

I can handle most web advertising (especially if it's for Disney!), but lately I have come to loathe the ones that fly across the screen or pop over what you really want to read. Then you can do nothing until the annoying thing is finished. I'm thinking about keeping a list of these ads and boycotting the products. I mean, how annoying that these companies would infringe on my privacy by blocking out my access to my email account for 2.2 seconds!!! It's an outrage and I'm ready to take action. Who's with me??

Actually, I'm only kidding... I am tired of those ads but I'm more tired of people becoming outraged over tiny little personal freedom issues. We live in such a "me, me" culture that we are often blinded by our self-absorption. We forget that patience is a virtue, a fruit of the spirit, and if we are that upset about something so small we ought to examine our own hearts first.

Leading up to today, I've been in a funk about Kt's school parent teacher conference. I had a long list of "issues" I needed to discuss about my daughter's education, or lack thereof. I could find tons of miniscule "items of concern" that needed to be addressed. Fortunately, I prayed about them all and today, when I went in, only a couple remained. It was a pleasant conference, with minimal concerns, lots of nice compliments about our daughter and a generally good feeling.

I noticed that this teacher 1) blocked off a time slot before and after us, and 2) asked her student teacher to join us. I was a teacher - I can read between those lines!! In my confession before I stepped in there it occurred to me that I am so impatient that I often forget to listen. I cloud my mind with "me, me" and don't wait to see/hear what needs to be revealed to me. I'm self-centered, self-righteous and very judgmental. In essence, I'm not even a work in progress, I'm a work in digress!! How awful!

I'm glad I figured that out before I sued the school system (slight exaggeration - the thought never even crossed my mind, but fit into the above example!). My goal is really to create the optimum learning environment for my daughter, at school and at home, because what she doesn't get at school (spiritual development for one!) must be completed at home. I can't do this without the teacher feeling supported - I know that, I'm a teacher. All in all, I think that's how we truly left it, honestly.

Now, those ads... how can we get rid of them! Such a nuisance!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Funny 70's Thing

I just got this email today and, well, yup. It's me!! It's kind of long, but super funny. I've added my own little comments for your reading enjoyment.

You Were a Little Girl in the 70’s if…

You wore a rainbow shirt that was half-sleeves, and the rainbow went up one sleeve, across your chest, and down the other. (Had one - it was my prized possession!)

You made baby chocolate cakes in your Easy Bake Oven and washed them down with snow cones from your Snoopy Snow Cone Machine. (All the time - I owned the Easy Bake, the Snow Cone Machine was my sister's - she was a Snoopy Freak!!)

You had that Fisher Price Doctor's Kit with a stethoscope that actually worked. (Can't remember, but all my friends had it!)

You owned a bicycle with a banana seat and a plastic basket with flowers on it. (Yes, and it was stolen from my front porch!)

You learned to skate with actual skates (not roller blades) that had metal wheels. (Heck yeah - REAL roller skating!)

You thought Gopher from Love Boat was cute (admit it!) (Absolutely - The Looooove Boat! Soon you'll be making another ....)

You had nightmares after watching Fantasy Island. (Ze Plane, Ze Plane...)

You had rubber boots for rainy days and Moon boots for snowy days. (Those rubber boots - always took your shoes off with them!)

You had either a "bowl cut" or "pixie," not to mention the "Dorothy Hamill" because your Mom was sick of braiding your hair. People sometimes thought you were a boy. (School pictures to prove it!)

Your Holly Hobbie sleeping bag was your most prized possession. (No sleeping bag, but my WHOLE room, wastebasket, curtains, bedspreads and all were Holly Hobbie.)

You wore a poncho, gauchos, and knickers. (All three, in bulk!)

You begged Santa for the electronic game, Simon. (Still have it - awesome game!)

You had the Donnie and Marie dolls with those pink and purple satiny shredded outfits. (Not sure about the dolls, but watched the show faithfully - I'm a little bit country, he's a little bit rock 'n roll!)

You spent hours in your backyard on your metal swing set with the trapeze. The swing set tipped over at least once. (Tipped over all the time until my dad replaced it with one with bars and cemented it into the groud!)

You had homemade ribbon barrettes in every imaginable color. (I MADE homemade ribbon barrettes in every color combination known to girls!)

You had a pair of Doctor Scholl's sandals (the ones with hard sole & the buckle). You also had a pair of salt-water sandals. (Not sure we could afford these, but I'm sure I had generic ones!)

You wanted to be Laura Ingalls Wilder really bad;you wore that Little House on the Prairie-inspired plaid, ruffle shirt with the high neck in at least one school picture; and you despised Nellie Olson! (Just call me half-pint!)

You wanted your first kiss to be at a roller rink. (Got it!)

Your hairstyle was described as having "wings" or "feathers" and you kept it "pretty" with the comb you kept in your back pocket. (Feathers and the plastic comb with a huge handle fit quite nice in the back pocket of my Sergio Valente jeans!)

You know who Strawberry Shortcake is, as well as her friends, Blueberry Muffin and Huckleberry Pie. (Yup - had the little treehouse for them, too!)

You carried a Muppets lunch box to school and it was metal, not plastic. (I loved the Muppets, had lots of metal and plastic lunch boxes!)

You and your girlfriends would fight over which of the Dukes of Hazzard was your boyfriend. (Ah, Bo!)

Every now and then "It's a Hard Knock Life" from the movie, "Annie" will pop into your brain and you can't stop singing it the whole day. (My sister would belt this song out over and over and over again!)

YOU had Star Wars action figures, too! (Nope, my little brother had to have something of his own! Of course, to this day he's still bitter about my sister breaking his Millenium Falcon - he was JUST telling me that in January!)

It was a big event in your household each year when the "Wizard of Oz" would come on TV. Your mom would break out the popcorn and sleeping bags! (I never did see the end of this movie - always fell asleep before that!)

You often asked your Magic-8 ball the question: "Who will I marry. Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, or Rick Springfield?" (Nope, just Rick Springfield.)

You completely wore out your Grease, Saturday Night Fever, and Fame soundtrack record album. (Absolutely - Fame, I wanna live forever!)

You tried to do lots of arts and crafts, like yarn and Popsicle-stick God's eyes, decoupage, or those weird potholders made on a plastic loom. Pot holders - I believe they were called ‘loomloopers". ( I actually still have the loom - it's in my bedroom!)

You made Shrinky-Dinks and put iron-on kittens on your t-shirts! (I can still smell these!)

You used to tape record songs off the radio by holding your portable tape player up to the speaker. (Oh yeah - and even add some vocals!)

You couldn't wait to get the free animal poster that came when you ordered books from the Weekly Reader book club. Double score if it was a teddy bear dressed in clothing. (Hmmm.. still have a bear collection and the marks on the ceiling in my old bedroom where the original sticky tack stained it to hold this poster there!)

You learned everything you needed to know about girl issues from Judy Blume books (Are you there God, It's me, Margaret.) (Thanks, Mrs. Blume!)

You thought Olivia Newton John's song "Physical" was about aerobics. (Well she wore the outfit in the video! What else could it have been about???)

You wore friendship pins on your tennis shoes, or shoelaces with heart or rainbow designs. (And I can't remember anymore what the colors mean - anyone??)

You wanted to be a Solid Gold dancer. (That or sing on Barbara Mandrell!)

You had a Big Wheel with a brake on the side, and a Sit-n-Spin. (Ticking Big Wheels, no sit-n-spin but a couple Hoppity Horses WITH real horsie heads!)

You had subscriptions to Dynamite and Tiger Beat. (Dynamite - all the way! and Highlights, because my mom was a teacher!)

You spent all your allowance on smurfs and stickers for your sticker album! (Left the Smurfs to my younger siblings, had stickers all over my bedroom door and the album to boot!)


** They forgot about drowning yourself in Love's Baby Soft - which was the first "real" perfume you ever owned . . (Don't remember this one!)


Last week Em and I went to the post office to mail a few things, pick up some stamps and send Uncle Rick his bathroom bag that he left here after Christmas (yeah, I know, we're a little slow...). These days we don't use snail mail much, so we can never find our stamps when we actually do need them. As I was looking at my choices, my eyes beheld the cutest stamps I've ever seen, and they are HUGE! They are the Favorite Children's Book Animals stamps and I LOVE them!! Em was very excited, too. In fact, she even got, as a bonus, a lecture on how postage stamps cost LOTS more money than stickers. They are, in fact, not stickers at all - catch my drift!

Anyway, T wasn't quite as excited about these stamps as I was, but who really cares, right? We rarely need to use them except to send greeting cards or to pay bills. No biggie!

The other night, T was complaining to me about these recommendation forms he had to fill out for some big conference in, yes, Kuala Lumpur (he secretly wants to go himself!) and was chiding me on the fact that, even though the entire thing is being organized online the forms needs to be sent, hardcopies to Connecticut. It's OK - I took it well. Because when he asked if we had any stamps, I said had Curious George, Where the Wild Things Are, Maisy, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Wilbur, Frederick and Olivia to offer him, in size large! He just shook his head as he chose Frederick and Olivia.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Vail, anyone??

It's been a crazy week here so far. Actually, it's been a little lazy. Em has had a cold all week so we've been doing the opposite of what we did last week - we're just staying home. I haven't posted much because I don't feel like I have much to say - bloggers block?

Crazy comes from half days, no school, parent teacher conferences (I'll likely have a lot to post about this one!) and sick kids. Today a Brownie field trip to the local Giant grocery store. General busyness but also the same amount of just lounging around with sicko!

Tonight, Em couldn't fall asleep, probably from her cold meds wearing off and the nap she took today. She is not my napper. Gave them up at 18 months old and rarely sneaks one in. When she does, she is wired all night! On my way down to start laundry (which I never did start!) I noticed her door was open, so I went in.

She was pretending to be asleep (haha - that's always so funny!) so I laid down with her. She started talking and I mentioned to her that Friday night she'd be staying at Grandma and Grandpa's. She started mumbling things and eventually she looked at me and said, "Grandpa does NOT believe in God. He's going to that place - you know, Vail!" I laughed and said, "Vail? What's that??" She replied, "You know, the fireplace place. There is fire everywhere, all over." I said, "OOOOooo, that sounds bad." She said, "And he'll be the ONLY person there!"

Yes, we have a limited idea of what heaven and hell are. She asked me then, "Will there be fire in hell?" I said I didn't know, but I did know that as long as Grandpa was alive, there was always hope for him to believe. Of course, her mind was set on Vail, so she continued on about the fireplace... Oh, the mind of a five year old. Scary!

I'm off to try to start that laundry that never got started. Hopefully I'll have more blogging material for you tomorrow, but for now I'm spent!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Communication Gap

Here's our most recent conversation:

d: (reading from an internet ad, which is only feeding her Disney addiction) "6 nights, 7 days at a select Value Disney Resort for a family of 4 including Theme Park tickets less than $1,500.00."

t: "How about we go to Kuala Lumpur...."

I'd say we are not on the same wavelength..... or the same budget!

We've Created a Monster!

A praise monster, that is! Kt came home Sunday with a little card asking if we would support her interest in singing on stage in the KidZone at church. She is SOOO excited to do this and I think it might be fun for her. It actually couldn't have come at a better time, as I've been really questioning the whole big church thing lately. I am reminded that one of the reasons we liked Grace was because of it's undying commitment to the spiritual development of children/youth. Not that the adults aren't important, but it's the feeling that we are working together to raise up a new generation of believers that attracts me to this body.

Tonight I emailed the woman in charge and proceeded to print out all the songs with motions. When I was about half way through the list Kt came in. As soon as she saw what I was doing she would peer over my shoulder, read the first couple of lines and then break out into full song and dance. By the time we got to a song called "Upside Down" I could hardly keep from laughing. Kt was jumping around the room, singing at the top of her lungs and finally just giddy with excitement. I wondered to myself, "If this the 'self-control' issue her teacher is having at school?" This child is bursting with pent up energy and I'm hoping I've found a way to unleash it productively.

I will admit, I'm a little apprehensive about this, too. I really want to instill the idea of worship in my daughter - not just fun. I want to make sure she understands what she is singing and to whom. There is also the issue of, uh hmm, singing off key. Hopefully they can address that one with her. I asked her if she would be on a microphone, she said no, I felt a little better! There's nothing worse than an 8 year old thinking they are awesome only to be told by their peers that... well, they should do something else! We have addressed this with her, but clearly she is just overjoyed to be given this opportunity.

I guess Em will be next, since her entire life is an operetta! She sings her way through everything and about everything. The other day she was downstairs singing about her dog, her party, her 'kids', and she often makes up her own "praise" songs about things I doubt she understands. In her songs, God blesses everything - you, me, pillows and blankets. We've got to address that theology!

Added: I was just checking out some news and this popped out at me - mostly because I'd just posted this. Maybe we have something here...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Up and Running

I was "posting" last night (my husband has corrected me when I call it "blogging") and figured out that although everyone else's blog pages were up, mine was still "forbidden" when I would try to view it. I emailed blogger and it looks as though 1:30 am it was back up again. I was starting to think my short life of blogging was coming to an end!

Now, if I can only get them to add "blog," "blogger," and "blogging" to the their spellcheck! I'm intent on making Webster add them, too!

Great Article on The Church

I love this article on what "faith-based organizations" have done in Biloxi. It's amazing to read of the lives outside of that region have been changed by the chance to serve there. I read similar stories in the letters I receive from Pastor Sprague in Covington. This summer we hope to send a team down again to LA.

We have had three of our student (college student) leaders from this past summer go to NO and have come back with stories, pictures, life lessons and lots of construction experience! FZ is our most recent to post about it. Check out her pictures if you get a chance.

We can all participate in continuing to support this region in so many ways - financially, through prayer and if you can, by going.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Blogger is Down

So, I can post but blogger is down so I can't read many of my favorite blogs nor can anyone read mine. So, I won't continue. It's just not as fun without an audience!

Grandpa Munster died...

Along with Gilligan's Island and the Adamm's Family, The Munster's ranked up there as one of my alltime favorite TV shows. How creepy! I'm sure if there was a show on like that today (oh, yeah, there probably is!) we'd have all sorts of bad things to say about it. In my house, though, we loved creepy shoes. I'm quite certain Spongebob Squarepants would have been regularly viewed in the Lovegren home!

Grandpa Munster had some connection to Danvers, MA right down the road from Gordon. When I went to Gordon, I used to work at the mall there and he was a frequent visitor there. I'm not really sure what the connection was, but I thought it was kind of funny because I loved that show. Even now, when I see reruns of it on rare occassions it makes me laugh. It's kind of sad that he died - just another reminder that I'm getting older!

Speaking of getting older, my birthday is coming up...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Raising $$

I've been thinking about this today - for a missions trip. What is appropriate for students to do to raise money for a trip?? Is it OK to: send support letters? do "fundraisers"? if fundraisers, in the church?? out of the church??

I'm thinking about all this because the question has arisen. We might possibly have a trip that costs a lot of money. I don't know that we have ever organized any kind of fundraiser with our students and I'm not sure the leadership in our church is comfortable with this anyway. I don't know how I feel about this.

Actually, when T and I first came to GCC we had a group of students come to our house to paint and we gave them a donation towards their trip to Trinidad. I didn't think that was a bad idea, in fact, I kind of enjoyed it (except for the part where T gave them something I didn't want painted to paint - something my grandfather had put a LOT of time into finishing!). I like the idea of the students doing something to serve in order to raise the funds needed to go on a trip. I'm not sure why this has all of a sudden become a problem with our church.

When T and I first thought through the idea of SPACE, I had a flood of ideas, many of which have never been acted upon. I saw a way to involve the adults of our church with the students in an active way through prayer and support. Had we actually moved ahead with those plans, we might not have to even be talking about this issue. The fact is, very few people at GCC have any idea what SPACE is, what the youth do in the warehouse, let alone what any summer plans might be. By limiting the exposure of these things to the church, I feel like we are stripping the church from opportunities to participate in these exciting trips and the lives of the students.

I feel the same way about the lack of interest in asking people to serve in specific areas of the church. Last Sunday made me realize that a majority of the people who might actually serve in any one of the needed areas (where there is currently a great need!) have no idea that there is a need. How difficult is it to express this need in front of everyone on a Sunday morning? I've not figured out the aversion to asking for help that has developed in our church.

Anyway, what is appropriate?? Any ideas?

Just Another Day at the Park!

That's about it - it was too nice today to do anything else!! Of course, we had our 4 and 5 year olds asking if we could go swimming. Imagine that, in February? It wasn't exactly that nice, but I have some serious spring fever.

Here's Em on our way to meet some friends at the park, which was packed. We've got the beginnings of daffodils, tulips and I wouldn't be surprised if we start seeing buds on our trees. I don't believe I've seen this around here in early February before - amazing! I believe last year around this time the walkway to the park was covered by a foot of snow - crazy!! But we're loving it while it's here!

DC Historical Site in Jeopardy

This place sounds interesting - I've never been! I have been on the hunt for any information about a hotel on 16th street that my grandmother's aunt and uncle used to own. I know it no longer exists, but I have a dance card from the 1920's that has a picture of Hotel Gordon on the front. It's from their New Years Gala.

Older buildings in DC are quite grand and they are losing out to bigger, more modern structures. I hope the historical society can hold on to this one - I would love to visit it sometime!! I'm a sucker for old antiquities. Hey Smithsonian, how about an old mansion to add to your collection??

Goodbye daffodils, hello icicles?

I had a feeling this unseasonably warm weather was too good to be true! I've seen the daffodils peeking out, more birds than a typical winter day, sometimes cannot locate my winter coat, let along scarves and gloves. It sounds like that's all about to change - unfortunately! I hope these weather gurus are wrong!!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Disney on the Brain

So, I spent some time last night searching for a cheap Disney vacation. Not because I'm going but just to see if one really existed!! I would love to go on the Land & Sea trip, which consists of 3 or 4 nights at WDW and 3 or 4 nights on a Disney Cruise. So, I plugged in some info and, well, how do people afford these vacations??? It was between 4 and 6 THOUSAND dollars! OK, so I'm cheap!

Today I stopped in at AAA to pick up cheap movie tickets (a little trick I learned from my dad!) and just couldn't resist asking them if they still offered cheap Disney packages. We've booked all our trips through them and have been pleased. I was happy to hear that even with the new Disney Magic Your Way you can still get a deal through AAA. I'm not sure why I was happy to hear that - we won't be going any time soon. I just had to ask, though!

Now, back to reality. Maybe CT for vacation?

Disney avatar's here!