Monday, April 27, 2015

Overcoming Prejudice

Yesterday, the family and I drove to Calloway Gardens for my best-friend's-birthday-kayaking-party. Try saying that three times. It was a lovely afternoon with perfect weather and some really cool people. Unfortunately, it was marred by a single 2 minute event.

As our nicely dressed, educated, well mannered party of 13 was waking to the dock, we passed an elderly, rich, white couple sitting in their boat on the dock. As we got closer, our very mixed bunch (and I mean that literally) obviously irritated the grumpy old man, who stood to make sure we weren't going to steal anything get a better glimpse of us. As five year-old Blinky, approached the boat dock thinking that was our final destination and tried to open the gate, grumpy old man shooed her away and began an unintelligible tirade, mostly for the benefit of his wife. Then, to make matters worse, he called his dog who he must have let out earlier to get in quickly so he can be safe. (Until he did this, none of us even realized that there was a dog.) Did this man really think we were going to harm it? Was the very existence of our group that much of a threat to him? Surreal.

To their credit, everyone in our party ignored him and moved on, but the scene kept replaying in the back of my mind. If we were an all white party, and Blinky approached the boat dock, would his reaction have been different. Is he really just a grumpy old man, or was his tirade racially motivated as our very mixed party was an affront to his blue blood status? As we were in our kayaks enjoying the beautiful scenery around us, I dared to glance over and there he was still sitting in his boat anchored to the dock. Watching us.

Since moving to the South, it is rare that I run into people like this, but it has happened. At seven and five, the DH and I have began introducing scenarios to the kids as we prepare them for the cruel world they will eventually enter. I always sometimes resent that I have to do this for the benefit of my bi-racial children, while my cohorts don't. That they will never have to worry about always being on their P's and Q's because not to could lead to an unfortunate outcome. It is a very sad reality.

Still, I am trying to apply the principal of not letting one bad thing ruin a great experience. Even more importantly, this is something I want my children to learn. Yes, there are idiots in the world who will do stupid things, but that's their issue, not ours. One mantra we've adopted is that there will always be someone who hates you, but there are far more people who love you. And I will continue to pray for God to place a hedge of protection over my family as we travel and explore together. What else can I do?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Morning After

The DH and I are proud parents of a Tiger Cub. After camping this weekend in the mud and rain, the DH spent most of Sunday morning cleaning and drying their tent. This is how our garage looked for most of the day.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Family Vacations

I think I love planning our annual family vacations as much as I enjoy the experience. In 2013, we took our first family cruise on Norwegian and had a blast. It was the best bang for our buck and we got to visit Roatan in Honduras, Belize City, Costa Maya (literally just a port stop for shopping and swimming in Mexico) and Cozumel.

2014 found us at Disney World and was truly magical. We did all four parks and Downtown Disney over eight days. For the DH we upgraded to the Deluxe Meal Plan and were able to book all the character meals! We got sick on the tail end and missed out on just one *must do* meal, but what fun! I would love to do this again before the kids get too old to enjoy the magic.

Later this year we're cruising with Norwegian again to Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas, Ocho Rios, George Town and Cozumel again. Maybe this time we'll make it to Chitzen Itza since the kids will be older and more able to handle the trek.

Because there were so many things in Orlando that we wanted to see, but didn't because there just wasn't enough time, we're going back next year to visit Sea World, Universal Studios, and Lego Land.

But what I'm most excited about is planning a 2017 Alaskan Cruise!!!

Yesterday I priced a Disney Alaskan Cruise. $20,000 for a balcony room for four people, but only $7,000 for an interior cabin, plus our airfare to Vancouver. Ummmm, I guess we'll be going back to Norwegian which offers the exact same itinerary, but less magic, for just shy of $5,000. Interior cabin of course. [I should point out that 2017 rates are not yet published, so this is based on 2016 rates. The price may change.]

We live very hectic lives. I firmly believe in children having extra-curricular activities to help keep them balanced. As such, our typical school year is a blur of school and work, church, homework, cub scouts, ballet, gymnastics, tennis, baseball, soccer and basketball. Since there are no grandparents for thousands of miles, the DH and I manage Stinky and Blinky by ourselves. This is no easy feat. Therefore, our family vacations provide an opportunity for us to relax and just enjoy each other, and experience fun, new things together, building memories that will last a lifetime. So yes, I am one of those crazy mamas that plan too far in advance but the reward is so worth it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Sometimes Mama just doesn't feel like sharing... she makes smoothies in the bathroom, out of earshot of the little people.

#selfish #MommyTimeOut #sogood

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Last week on facebook, I noticed a teacher posted there are only 35 days left in the school year. A host of other teachers commented about how much they are looking forward to summer break. Well, I have news for these overstressed an overstressed Mom I am also looking forward to summer break.
Mornings in our house are complete and utter PANDEMONIUM! Between homework and extra-curricular activities for a seven year-old boy and five year-old girl, we have some pretty late evenings. Getting the kids up in the mornings is next to impossible. Then there's encouraging them to shovel their breakfast in (extra points if its not one of their favorites), pack lunches, let the dog out, get ourselves dressed, get the kids dressed and get in the car early enough to have Stinky Marinky in class at 7:40!!! By the time I get to work (not sure about the DH), I feel like I've run a marathon, been hit by a truck, or both. So for me, summer break means not having to rush about to be somewhere at a ridiculously early time. I can actually sit and enjoy breakfast with my kids without having to yell at them, and let the kids ride their bikes in the evening instead of playing taxi.
31 school days left.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

On Getting Older...

At lunch today, the waiter casually [albeit pleasantly] strolled over to greet then seat me. 5 minutes later, said waiter nearly falls over himself to greet and seat 2 college girls in hot shorts who couldn't have been older than 18.