Oct 9, 2012

Weekend wrap-up--Part 2

So, day 2 of "Expedition--San Antonio" included the Alamo, the Riverwalk, the Ripley's 'Believe it or Not!' museum, and Madame Toussad's wax museum.

First up, was the Alamo. Man, they've done a lot with the place since the last time i was there. Spruced it up a bit, they did. We walked the grounds, checked out all the informational plaques, and just...well...soaked it all in. It's rather humbling to be inside the actual Alamo. It's easy to just think of it of a random, historical building, but when you really start thinking about all that happened, and how many people lost their lives--extremely humbling. The girls had a great time, even though I turned it into a total 'school' opportunity. Clairey enjoyed the cannons, since she loves the whole, "Come and take it!" story. To hear her tell it is fabulous. Jenna enjoyed the squirrels. I kid you not. No matter where we go, if there's a squirrel, it's a big deal. Today, it was, "LOOK! An 'Alamo' squirrel!" These squirrels must be pretty awesome, because the one we saw the day before was just a 'San Antonio' squirrel. What a loser. Besides the rodents, Jen also loved looking at the detailed miniature models they have. And seriously--these are the most detailed things i've ever seen. Crazy to look at and think that THAT was what that area looked like way back when.

After the Alamo, we wandered across the way to the Ripley's Believe it or Not museum. This was actually pretty damn fascinating. At first, Jen wasn't too hip on it--it's very loud in there, and the girl didn't have her headphones. Instead, she opted to put on her hoodie and tie it super tight around her face. Wish i had a picture of that. After a while, she warmed up and was really into it. There are some really odd things in that place. REALLY odd. Favorite part? When Clairey asked, "What's THAT?" IT was a penis sheath from some random tribe. Nice. Leave it to Clairey to find that particular memento of Ripley's travels.

Next...a waltz down the Riverwalk (and lunch). We ate, we walked--a lot--and just enjoyed ourselves. I've come to find out that it usually doesn't take much to entertain the girls. Jenna said her favorite part of the entire trip was walking down the Riverwalk, snuggled up under SMM's arm. Can you blame her? Nope. It was a gorgeous day, and although the main part of the Riverwalk was rather crowded, we found a beautiful, non-populated area that was just lovely. Then, on to the wax museum...

Let me start by saying, they don't make 'em like they used to. The newer wax pieces look...well, exactly like that: wax pieces. I wouldn't even put this crap on a birthday cake. The older ones look awesome (Johnny Cash, the original Michael Jackson, Superman, etc.), and the newer ones are just too fake-looking. Jen loved the Hogwarts setup, but was quick to comment that "...they look pretty crappy." Clairey walked down into the 'horror' part with me, but decided to split and leave me alone. The scariest part of that was the seizure-inducing lighting. The stuff that was supposed to be scary was pretty craptastic. Not saying the wax museum was a waste of money, but it was just 'eh.'

After that, we headed back to the hotel, where we donned our swimsuits, headed down to the pool, and watched parents NOT watch their kids. We could only take so much of that, so we went inside dressed, and had dinner. We are extreme partiers. We live on the edge. The funniest part of the day is when Clairey was playing 'store' in our room--she took out all our clothes, refolded them, and had them laid out on the tables in the room; Jenna would come and 'shop'. Then she was pretending to be an Asian nail lady. The stuff this kid does. She had all three of us laughing so hard that we had tears.

Sunday, we woke up, found out that the hotel really DIDN'T have free breakfast, ate anyways, and headed to SeaWorld. You know something that's weird about Texas? It was 89 on Saturday, and 54 on Sunday. FIFTY FOUR. We planned ahead and knew there was going to be a bit of a cold front, but Siri said it was going to be in the high 60s. She's such a lying whore. We had packed jeans, short-sleeved shirts, and light jackets. The girls and I don't do cold. At all. No one was at SeaWorld, because we didn't get the memo that the state of Texas was closed due to weird, cold weather. We ended up buying the only sweatshirts they had--which were Sesame Street. Then i bought a black/white striped 'Where's Waldo' hat, and purchased Clairey a hot-pink beanie (Jenna was already wearing a hat). SMM pretty much laughed at us the entire time.

We froze our butts off, but had a fabulous time! SeaWorld has changed a LOT since the last time I was there. The shows were great, it was uncrowded, and Clairey rode her first 'real' rollercoaster (which she loved).

Boring last 2 posts, eh? That's alright. We had an awesome time!

Now, back to our regular shenanigans...

Weekend wrap-up--Part 1

This past weekend, we took a little jaunt over to San Antonio. And by 'little jaunt,' i mean 'a 4-hour drive.' It was fun though--really fun. We don't get to do stuff like this very often because, if you haven't noticed, for the cost of a weekend trip, we could probably buy a third-world country. However, sometimes, I just bite-the-bullet and go for it.

Way back in July, I bought Clairey tickets to the 'Kellogg's Tour of Gymnastic Champions,' which was being held in good 'ol San Antonio. As we moved closer to the 10/5 date of the performance, Jen hadn't asked for anything specific (except more Monster High dolls, which i'm not buying anymore of because her room looks like a ghoulish orphanage with pretty monsters littering the floor), so we figured she'd love the hell outta SeaWorld and bought a 'family 4-pass.' They said it was a good deal. Again, if 'good deal' means a car payment, then they're right on! Jeez.

Then I started stashing away money because a weekend means 2 nights in a hotel and food because these things eat. They don't eat a lot though, so i always get lucky in that aspect. Breakfast, an additional meal, and a cereal bar pretty much round out their day. Moving on...

Friday, 10/5:
The day of the cereal show. Clairey was excited, we were excited for her. We checked into our hotel, was was good stuff--I like Marriott hotels--we stay in them often. The girls just love hotels. LOVE. We dropped off our bags, and took to the Riverwalk. We had some time to kill, so we mosied around, stopped and had a late lunch at Fuddrucker's (it totally smelled like cat pee in there. Gross.), then found a Mexican establishment and ordered a margarita and a corona. There were plenty of ducks, which Clairey loved and Jenna hated. Apparently, she has a deep-seated hatred for fowl that we were unaware of. After watching Jenna freak out for approximately 40 minutes, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the show.

We decided to take a taxi, rather than get the car out of valet, drive to the venue, pay to park, etc, etc.. The taxi was only $15 (with tip), and Clairey was happy that she didn't have to sit in a booster seat. We drove through a super-sketchy part of town, wherein SMM witnessed a full-on crack party. Well, maybe not, but I totally missed this spectacle, and by the way he described it, I think it must have been a crack party. Although, I would have no freaking clue what a 'crack party' looks like, or what one is. But there were a bunch of shady-looking people in front of a ramshackle house, and they had started a bonfire. In their driveway. Doesn't that just say 'crack party' to you? Anyways, we get to the venue, and as the taxi driver was awaiting payment, we see another girl from Clairey's gym. So, we hung with them until we went in.

Our seats were RIDICULOUS. 4th row. I could have spit on any of the Olympians at any time. I probably would have missed, but my spit would've been really, really close. Clairey had huge eyes the entire time--just watching everything. Then she'd break out into a face-splitting grin, and clap wildly. It was awesome. I was trying hard not to cry, because it was just like a Folger's commercial, but without the coffee and with added spotlights. She loved it so much, and i loved that SHE loved it so much, that I took her to the 'refinance your mortgage and buy a trinket' table and spent over $100. For which we got a free cheap-ass shopping bag. But The Munch got a fancy leotard just like Gabby's, so she was thrilled.

Afterwards, we headed outside to call our taxi-guy back. He said he was too far away. Bastard. So, i called Yellow Cab. Their system was down and they said to call back in 20 minutes. Turns out, there was a taxi line WAY down the parking lot. So, we walked down there, and I kid you not, waited an hour and a half for a taxi. There was a huge line of people waiting, and every taxi in San Antonio and the surrounding area was apparently being used. We FINALLY got back to our hotel and ordered pizza. And it was gross. Has Pizza Hut changed their cheese??? I must know.

Back to the evening...

Anyways, it was somewhat perfect. Clairey had an amazing time, and we loved being able to do this for her. Made our hearts feel all warm and fuzzy. :)

Part 2 later...

Oct 1, 2012

The Cheetah Girl is 11!

Last night, after you were asleep, I climbed into bed with you and just snuggled with you and those crazy, long limbs of yours. I just kept thinking of when you were a baby, a toddler, a LITTLE girl, and you would fit so perfectly right against me--with your legs curled up, and your back against my belly. Now, we're nearly identically aligned. My nose nestles in your hair, your shoulders are on my chest, and our legs are like grapevines--weaved in and out with each other. But still...you are my baby.

You have a spot right above your ear, that still smells like baby goodness. If I close my eyes tight, and think hard enough, I can still pretend that your hair is a mess of bouncing curls, that the hand holding mine is chubby and tiny (rather than thin and graceful) and that i'm fighting for bedspace with your "guys"--Pooh, Mr. Bun, and Duma. Funny enough, the 'guys' still have a special place in your bed--up by your head on their own pillow. They're such a staple, that I doubt they'll ever leave; I hope they don't. When you climb into bed at night, everything is still the same. The ONLY thing that has changed is you.
You are tall, willowy, limby, and beyond lovely. At a new 11, you are catching up to me quick--I give you one more year, and i'm sure you'll be taller than me. Even this morning, as I was making coffee and you came burrowing yourself into my arms, I realized that these days--these days where I am the taller of the two of us--are numbered. The days where I can still wrap my arms around you and feel like I am completely protecting you--are numbered. And, in all honesty, and for lack of a better word, it sucks. It makes my eyes well up with tears and a lump grows in my throat. Why? I'm not sure. I'm so proud of you and what you have become--who you are. I am so excited for your future and how you will mold it into what you want and believe. So, ultimately, I guess it makes me sad that you're growing. But, for all the times I want to stack bricks on your head to keep you small, even more than that, I want to shout out how amazing and wonderful you are. How brilliantly smart you are, how dumbfoundingly talented you are... It's a Catch-22, Love. I want you to grow, yet I want you to remain small. So, forgive me. Forgive me for pulling you into my lap. Forgive me for covering that precious and precocious face with a million kisses. Forgive me for still hugging you tight and breathing you in until my lungs can hold no more. And forgive me for forever--because forever is a long, long time--but that's how long you'll be my baby.

At 11, you are (still) quirky and silly, and at the moment, talk about 2 things: Cheetahs and Monster High. You're socially quirky--unless, of course, the topic of discussion is cheetahs or Monster High. Sometimes, you're a little out-of-control--particularly, when you're excited. Over the past year, you've started to question yourself. You started asking me, "Why am I different?" I just tell you, "Because your brain works differently than others." The way you compute things is just...different. To be honest, I wish my brain worked like yours. You have noticed that you're not like your peers. You've noticed that you're not interested in the same things. You've also noticed, unfortunately, that kids are now calling out your differences. And to that, your family says, "SO WHAT." You are, what the medical community calls, an 'intellectual badass.' Okay, maybe they don't use THAT specific term... We love you just the way you are: Quirky and cheetah-crazy. If you want to sit and play with your Monster High dolls for hours, do it. If you want to sit and draw for an entire weekend, then by all means, get all over it. You're an amazing kid, and we embrace you in all your "freakishly fabulousness." (Did you catch that Monster High reference? You're going to love that.) I guess what it boils down to is this: You are awesome. We love you for YOU. Not what your doctor labels you as, not what other people say you are--for YOU. Everything about you. We love YOU.

You, my Jenna, are everything I always wished for and hoped for in a daughter. You amaze me, you make me smile, you make me shake my head in disbelief, and you make me crazy. But those 'crazy' days are worth it, just to be your mom. I am so very proud to be your mommy. Happy 11th birthday, my crazy, quirky, cheetah girl.

I love you all the stars (and all the spots),