Sunday, August 28, 2011

Not my Second Career Choice

I'm not one for yard vanity.  I don't think that trying to make something grow for the sole purpose of cutting it down is an efficient use of my time, energy, or resources.  Sprinklers are a waste of water.  Fertilizer/seed combinations just mean that the dog can't go out for several hours.  I'm pretty sure golf courses are simply upscale eco-terrorism.  It should therefore come as no surprise that I'm not a big fan of mowing.  It's usually hot, dusty, and irritating in the fact that I know I'll have to do it again soon.  Alas, my yard boy moved away for about a year leaving me in charge of the yard.  This is not a good thing.  For the yard.

The first time I mowed the yard here in Clarksville, it was unseasonably warm.  Because I have two small children, I waited until Little Man was napping so as not to have to put him in the front carrier.  The mental picture seemed awkward and I was pretty sure I didn't have the correct eye protection for an infant (my eye protection comes in the form of $10 sunglasses from Target:  OSHA should have no problems there), so I opted for Plan B.  Plan B was Little Man napping and Sweet Girl watching a movie with copious snacks available to her.  I told her what I would be doing and where I would be, and that if she needed me to come get me.  I left the garage door shut but not latched so she could get me easily should there be an emergency like the tv shorting out or apple slices running out.  I was into my second pass around the side yard when I see Oreo bolt out the door.  Awesome.  I leave the mower and investigate.  Sweet Girl's in the garage sitting on her old tricycle, with her knees up to her chin, barefoot and topless.  There must have been one hell of a party on My Friends Tigger and Pooh.  After a quick momversation (That's mostly what Sweet Girl and I have: I ask her questions, she repeats part of what I say, and then two minutes later I get two-word replies to the question I forgot I asked.  We're working on a more effective and efficient communication style.), I herd her back into the house to locate the missing clothing items.  That righted, I grab the dog's leash and go hunting for him so he doesn't become property of the local too-nice-lady-who-takes-dogs-into-her-house-to-find-their-owner-but-really-just-makes-Sean-think-Sarah-is-a-terrible-pet-mother-as-it-happened-on-her-watch.  He didn't get too far, but by this time I'm pretty sure Little Man's going to wake up at any minute so I rush to finish the front yard.  The back yard will have to wait for another day.

The "another day" comes the next day.  Little Man's not in a napping mood and Sweet Girl is keeping all her clothes on, so I decide they can get some fresh air while I mow the backyard.  It's fenced in which is great for kid corralling and for Oreo, but really it just means that all of Oreo's poop is in a concentrated location and it will eventually end up on the bottom of your shoe no matter how diligently you use the pooper-scooper or how careful you are at where you place your feet.  I had purchased a baby pen that I'm pretty sure was called "Baby's Happy Entertainer" in the catalog but in all reality it's Little Man jail with bells and whistles.  I put down a blanket in a spot where I won't have to mow, plop Little Man down in his fancy jail and tell Sweet Girl that now is not the time to become an lawn mower-charging adrenaline junkie but if she did, above all else, to keep her clothes on.  If I'm going to Mom Prison for failure to put my children in a safe place while I'm mowing, Sweet Girl would at least watch them put me in the backseat of the squad car fully clothed.  The mowing is fairly uneventful, though the backyard has serious issues, but I learned that (1) Sweet Girl has better things to do than entertain her younger brother, (2) Little Man hates yard work as much as I do, and (3) Oreo doesn't understand why I would be vacuuming the outdoors, not to mention the outdoor vacuum doesn't have a canister - it just keeps spitting the dirt out.

The second time I attempted to mow the yard, it was after a rainy spell.  The regular rain made the grass grow quickly while at the same time preventing me from actually mowing.  Tricky rain.  Once there was a break in the monsoon, I went to tame the grass.  Sweet Girl was at school and Little Man was napping, so I had plenty of time.  I'm making good time on the front yard when the mower sputters out.  Odd.  I check the fluid levels, just as I had done before I started, and I saw the same thing; everything's good.  Well, maybe the grass was too thick and the mower will start up after it rests.  Our lawn mower's a diva.  I try to start it.  Not happening.  I try again.  Not even sputtering.  I try again because my genetic code says I will NOT be beaten by inanimate objects.  Again, nothing.  I cede the battle to the mower but not the war as I vow to be back.

The next day - same grasstime, same grasschannel - I gear up to finish the yard as it's forecasted to rain the next day.  But the mower is stubborn in its slumber.  I call the handyman I keep on retainer, but Papa was stumped as well.  This is not good.  My side yard has a growhawk and Oreo scared some National Geographic photographers in the backyard that morning.  They were apparently confused about the rainforest that had appeared in Tenntucky and were shooting a pictorial when Oreo came sneaking up through the grass begging for food.  I can't be blamed for them not seeing him though:  he's not that tall.  So I talk to Sean and we agree that we need a lawn service.  I make a couple of calls and find a guy who can come the next day ahead of the rain.  The rain he's tracking on the weather radar in his truck.  This is serious lawn service business.  He shows up the next morning as promised in a polo embroidered with his company name, and a trailer full of equipment.  It's at this time (after I read the name on his shirt) that I realize his name is Ryan not Ron.  When he returned my phone call I was busy- changing diapers, cleaning up bodily fluid, or saving the world I can't remember which- and his accent was thick enough for me to hear his name as Ron.  We had two subsequent phone conversations, and during both I erroneously called him Ron and he never corrected me.  That aside, he seems like a very nice guy and he was unintimidated by my experiment in vegetation overgrowth.  At Ryan's signal, two other guys got out of the truck.  One started mowing, the other moving swings and outdoor furniture to a safe place, and Ryan began trimming around shrubs and  under trees.  Later they blew the grass off the driveway.  Dear Ryan mowed the yard for me several times.

That is until my Scottish/Calvinist heritage got the better of me.  You may recall that we went on vacation.  During that time my grass had the audacity to grow, not as much as it should have as we're now dry as an Amish community center,  but enough to call the attention of a passing lawn service.  Ronald rang my doorbell and told me he'd mow the yard for $10 less than Ryan.  I'm cheap.  I can get a pair of sunglasses at Target for that.  Sold.  Ronald and his wife/girlfriend/sister/random female stranger he met on the street show up two hours later than the agreed upon time and start mowing.  She mows, he trims.  Neither of them can open the gate to the backyard (one must lift AND simultaneously push: it requires two hands and a lift from the knees not the back, but it's not rocket science).  I do that and barely have time to rescue an errant Little People before it was shredded.  Ronald's weed eater dies before he uses it under the slide on the swingset.  They collect payment.  Not great, but the yard is mowed so I say that I'll probably call in a couple of weeks. 

I was true to my word and the exchange between Ronald and myself went something like this:

After six rings
Ronald:  (sleepily though it's 1:30 pm) Hello?
Me:  Hi, Ronald.  This is Sarah.  I live at One Yemen Way.  You mowed the yard for me a couple of weeks ago.
Ronald:  Huh.
Me: was hoping you'd be available to mow some time this week.
Ronald:  Yup. (sounds of movement on the other end like he's trying to get out of quicksand)
Me: days are you available?
Ronald:  Uh.  When?
Me:  Right.  When are your available?
Ronald:  Oh.  To mow.  What is today?
Me:  Thursday.
Ronald:  Uh, tomorrow?  I'm just trying to recollect you.  What you say your name was?
(many exchanges that I'm not sure he'll remember but here's hoping)
Me:  Ok, great!  See you tomorrow.

Ronald has yet to show up.  Since Nana's here I decided that mowing the yard could fall back to me (and apparently the mower's problem had something to do with wanting to make me look like an idiot as both Papa and Sean were able to make it work like a champ since we had our disagreement).  Nana looked after the kids while I successfully mowed the yard.  During that time I was reminded of several things.  One being that I enjoy having the only noise I hear in my head being the music coming from my iPod.  Also, our backyard has big holes in it.  Also there are two trees in the backyard that have formed an alliance with the grass in that they attack anything trying to cut the grass around them.  Those trees hate people with mowers.  And they hate eyes.  And they hate earbuds.  Stupid trees.  Fancy lawn mowers take the sport out of yard maintenance.  It seems like an unfair advantage to have a riding mower; the mower will always win against the yard.  But there's a bit more sport with a push mower.  There were a couple of sticky situations today when the mutant mosquitoes, angry trees, uneven terrain, and an unfortunate slow song showing up on Shuffle, almost forced me to allow the grass to win.  Alas, I forged on and the grass fell to the swift, dull blades of our push mower.  {Of course, the grass may actually have the advantage with Carrie's mower as it's not self-propelled and made by a company known for really good scissors.  I haven't used it, but I think I've heard Papa mutter something about scissors being faster than Carrie's mower.  But it's Earth-conscious.  So the next time I have to drive my SUV down the block with my a/c on looking for my dog, I'll sleep easily knowing Carrie's offsetting my carbon footprint.}  Ronald doesn't know what he's missing.  Probably in more ways than one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stop Being Annoyed. Be Awesome Instead.

I don't want to whine.  I've been doing enough of that lately.  I'm tired of myself already.  Sweet Girl and Little Man are tired of me and I'm a bit tired of them as well.  Oreo has taken to hiding in his dog bed, which is in fact the LAST place I would look for him as more often than not Little Man is the one occupying the fleecy oval while Oreo is ruining my couch or taking over my bed.  (Why would I sit in a dog bed?  Wait.  You think I'm a dog?  A dog?!)  It's just that......well it's a lot of smallish things that add up to one biggish annoyance.  Normally something happens and I find a way to reset so that I don't carry over yesterday's annoyances to today.  That hasn't happened yet - since about last Thursday.  I know some people carry this kind of stuff over for years, and genetically I'm predisposed to excellence in grudge holding, but I've got a Sweet Girl and a Little Man to look after (not to mention a dumb dog).  And it's hard to do that when the only thing you see when looking at those cute faces is everything you've been annoyed with the last few days.  I'm stuck in a whine rut.  It's not nearly as fun as being stuck in a wine cellar so I'd like to get out of it.  So I'm just going to air my grievances here and be done with them.  OK?

I get it.  I understand why they pipe babies crying or ridiculous 80s music into the holding cells of interrogates.  It would break me too.  Little Man has discovered some new noises and is very proud.  He must be afraid these new noises will go away because he's not taking any chances and uses them constantly.  Every waking hour there is noise, or words, or crying from Little Man.  Sweet Girl has been an outward dialogue girl from the beginning.  She has a tendency to sing randomly throughout the day regardless of social situation.  When she's sick the singing and verbal stims increase.  She's been sick.  While it might seem cute that your four year-old has the score to the musical Annie memorized, I am perfectly happy to watch the Weather Channel to find out the sun will come out tomorrow.  I can control the volume on the Weather Channel.  So if I ever had national secrets, I would give them up in a heartbeat if they told me I would have to listen to a recording of my children over and over and over again.  Then again, maybe it wouldn't bother me at all since I've already done it for 17 months.  I would make an excellent spy.  I need to write that in my Idea Journal.

2.  I didn't want to watch a movie anyway
Things continue to break around here.  I informed all appliances or things of use that they were not allowed to malfunction and would be in grave danger of being replaced if they did.  The Blu-Ray did not take me seriously.  This DVD player and I have been at odds from the time Sean decided we needed it.  Mostly our disagreements are over simple matters; me wanting the DVD player to work and the DVD player deciding it has better things to do.  By the time it powers on and loads a disc the movie's sequel has already been made, released, and brought to DVD.  Also it did not have wifi capabilities so updates required the use of a data disc.  By they time it powered on and loaded the data disc, there were five more new updates to load.  Then the other day it would power on for about 3 seconds and then shut itself down.  Sean and I decided upon a replacement and Little Man and I went out to get said replacement after dropping Sweet Girl at school.  We came home and got the new one up and running.  It seems to be more eager to work than Old DVD Player.  I like that quality.  Just to see what would happen, I plug Old DVD Player in upstairs where it apparently understands it's about to be a part of a free crap giveaway curbside, and it springs to life.  Apparently the air is better for movie viewing at a higher altitude.

3.  Little Man is not to be trusted
Oh sure.  He looks cute.  But underneath those feathery lashes and marshmallow physique, he is one big ball of trouble.  Today I put the phone in its base after talking to Sean.  Later in the afternoon, Papa calls and the ringing phone sounds oddly far away.  It's not in its base but sounds not too far off.  Upon further investigation the phone was found in the block cart underneath every piece of molded plastic we have in the house.  Little Man has a tendency to hide things.  I pick up the phone and talk to Papa for about 5 minutes before the phone's battery died.  Stupid phone.  It's a close relative to Old DVD Player and isn't inclined to working that much.  Then there was last night.  I left the bathtub filling with water for Sweet Girl's bath while I took two minutes to switch the laundry.  Sweet Girl was playing in the living room and Little Man was chasing the dog.  Sixty seconds later I hear Little Man screaming from the bathroom.  In his attempt to fill up the hair-rinsing cup with bath water, Little Man took a dive.  I found him standing, fully-clothed and dripping wet in the bathtub.  The bathroom is apparently a mischief-prone location as today I found he had dumped an entire bag of cotton balls (Ooh soft! he says) into the toilet.  The goods is they're absorbent.  The bad news is they shouldn't be flushed.  This happened because I had shooed him away from the dishwasher as I was loading it. He wanted to take out the utensils for one last lick.  I thought that wasn't a good idea.  And at some point today he managed to sneak three toys into the crisper drawer. 

4. I can not make my expectations any clearer
A large part of my frustration centers around Sweet Girl's behavior.  She adapts a different social skill set and unique language when she's not feeling well.  General volume increases, singing becomes near compulsive, vocal tics show up out of nowhere, and verbal stims come back that I thought were long gone.  And she doesn't wind down her activity level - it actually increases.  She is full-tilt sensory seeking.  Instead of bouncing on the trampoline, she jumps up and down on the floor with all the force she can muster and then drops down on her bottom.  The floor shakes; it has to hurt and yet she continues (even though she's been directed not to do so).  She does head stands against the furniture.  She climbs over the arm of the couch repeatedly.  She runs instead of walks, yells instead of talks, and disregards any directions given.  Something is off and it's hard from me to get her back on, if you will.  Tuesday morning I drove a crying Sweet Girl to school.  She wasn't crying because she didn't want to go, as a matter of fact she probably couldn't wait to get there, but she was upset because I yelled at her before we got in the car.  Getting out the door and in the car is a fiasco in the best of circumstances, and lately with Sweet Girl's spaciness I have to ask her to do simple things REPEATEDLY before they get done.  That morning I had asked her to bring me her milk cup because she was thirsty and I was wiping peaches off of Little Man's face and the kitchen walls.  She asked me for milk three more times and I told her to bring me her cup three more times.  Five minutes later she brings me her cup.  Then we're all dressed, backpack ready to go, all she needs are her shoes.  I tell her to put her shoes on.  I start getting everything else together, and direct her to her shoes again.  All told, I had to ask her 12 times to put on her shoes.  Something she does everyday; she knows she needs shoes to leave the house and that going to school means leaving the house.  We nearly missed drop-off time because she was so spacey and intent on everything but her shoes.  And that's an example of how our interactions have been going since about last Thursday, so on Tuesday I was frustrated and I yelled at her.  I apologized because I shouldn't lose my temper like that, but crapsticks and awesomesauce, I couldn't take it any more.

To make matters worse, we're potty-training.  Yes, she's four years old and not potty-trained.  I thought long and hard if I wanted to include this because I know some people will judge her abilities based solely on this fact.  But this is me, talking about my kids whether it's good, bad or ugly and this is a big part of that.  Sweet Girl understands that we sit on the potty.  She's got that down.  What she doesn't understand is how to make the next step happen and unfortunately she has a steel bladder.  I had her sans pantalons for 2.5 hours on Friday (after our Sonic orange lemonade stop) and she held it in until it was time for bed and I put a pull-up on her.  We do this dance a lot and we don't do it alone.  When I take her to the potty, Little Man and Oreo come along.  The bathroom's not that big; it can get a little claustrophobic.  The more we try the more Sweet Girl and I both get frustrated.  She gets frustrated because she thinks she's doing everything I'm asking her to do and yet I still ask more of her. (And she's NOT a fan of changes like this.  She potties in a diaper, always has and she hopes always will.  Why change a system that doesn't seem broken to her?)  I'm frustrated because I can't find the right words to help her understand what to do.  I can say "Go pee pee." til I'm pee peed out, but that doesn't make her understand how to make her muscles contract and then release on demand.  It's not a matter of motivation.  I've offered her the Sweet Girl version of the moon and the stars (a party with cupcakes), it's a matter of comprehension.  If anyone has any advice, time for prayer, special tricks, toilet rosaries, or voodoo, I'm all ears.  I hate that Sweet Girl sees my frustration and doesn't know why it's there when she's trying everything to make me happy.  I hate that parts of her day she feels like she failed me and she doesn't even know how.  On the upside, Little Man has two new words: pee pee and potty.  Which comes in handy when you need to tell him not to throw things in the potty.

I don't want to be annoyed, so I'm trying to be awesome.  I'm trying to channel my inner Super Woman.  She's in here somewhere - probably underneath a bag of soggy cotton balls.

Anyone else need to vent to get past something?  Tell me about it and we can be awesome together.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Surprise! We Went to Disney!

So I suckered my sister and my parents into going to Disney World with me and my traveling circus.  I'm not really sure what they were thinking, but I must have sounded/acted pathetic enough last December when we couldn't go that they agreed to give it another shot.  Clearly they are way too nice or drinking too much.  The really nice people at Southwest airlines assured me that missing last December's flights (I called before we actually missed the flight because I thought it would be rude not to tell someone that we wouldn't make the party even after we RSVPed) just meant that we would have that credit on our account for a year from the time of ticket purchase, and that I could rebook on-line using the confirmation number.  Lo and behold!  They were right.  It was just as easy as buying a new ticket and whole lot less expensive.  Not to mention that Carrie, Nana, AND a heavily guilted and coerced Papa were able to get on the same flight out of Indianapolis. 

As the day of our flight approaches, I'm trying to figure out how I'm going to pack for the three of us without going over our bag limit.  Southwest flies bags for free and I will forever want to give them a big, sloppy, inappropriately long kiss for that.  But they fly two bags free per ticket, and I have two tickets for three people, four blankets, a booster seat, a car seat, regular diapers, wipes, pull-ups, swim diapers, sunblock totalling a million SPF, distraction toys for the plane, sippy cups, clothes, shoes, stroller, hair stuff, toothbrushes, 27.5 chargers, and 40 pairs of socks give or take 37 pairs.  It kills me that I am unable to travel lightly with my children.  I once wrote a "Travel Light" manifesto for my parents, sister, and friend as they were about to embark on their journey to visit me while I was studying in France and then bring me home.  And despite the fact that I didn't put an -ly on the adverb in the title, I thought it was rather useful.  The fact they took my advice was probably what made our stowaway trip on the Orient Express a success.  Anyway, I did manage to pack our things in two bags with another bag holding the car seat and the booster snuggled inside.  Then Sweet Girl's backpack became the kid carry-on and my backpack became the other kid carry-on. 

Disney World was magical as always.  On the way there, Carrie and I discussed the last time I had been there in the hot "peak" season months.  The answer is it's been a long time; Justin Bieber was still in hoody onesies.  What I remembered of Disney at it's most crowded is still the same.  There are lots of people, lots of strollers, lots of matching t-shirts, lines can get pretty long, and you can easily get warm enough that handing over your first-born for a bottle of water seems reasonable.  What I didn't know, or the media has failed to cover, is that Disney World has moved.  It has moved to approximately 10 miles off the surface of the sun.  About five minutes into the day and I looked like I had just completed a three day hike in the rainforest.  We sweat so much I was pretty sure reapplying sunblock was an effort in futility and so I didn't. (I do not recommend or condone not taking proper precautions when dealing with the sun.  Skin cancer is a serious thing and I've been known to get on an SPF box and preach about it.)  Amazingly enough Whitey McTranslucentSkin didn't get a sunburn and my two EuroPasty children didn't either.  Besides the heat some really cool stuff happened and it would take me forever to go through it all in detail, so here are some highlights:

*Friendly Skies - As Sweet Girl's mother, I imagined a thousand different ways for the flights/time in the airport to be awful; tantrums, meltdowns, getting lost, holding up the line in security, getting detained by security, not being able to sit still in the seat, tantrums, screaming, tantrums, and so on.  Turns out I completely underestimated Sweet Girl and Little Man.  I had a lot of help, but they were wonderful.  Sweet Girl was excited about flying and sat still in her seat the entire flight.  She played and watched videos on the iPad and just hung out in general.  Little Man had some snacks, took a nap, hung out in my lap, took a nap on Aunt Carrie, and just hung out in general.  I have a mustard seed pin that I purchased when I realized that Sweet Girl would be facing some pretty tough battles throughout her life.  I bought it as a visual reminder that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains.  Thinking specifically of the flights we would have to take, I took the pin with me.  Turns out I had made a mountain out of a mole hill, and my kids moved their own mole hills that day.

*Fluff-n-Stuff - Sweet Girl has long had a love affair with the 100 Acre Wood characters, but on previous Disney trips she could have cared less or was genuinely terrified of the characters.  I am happy to say that she has worked through that in style.  We stood in line to meet Pooh and I was thinking if she says "Hi!" and gives him a high five then it would have been a success.  When it was our turn, we turned the corner and she walked up to him with her arms out and up for a hug and said "Hi, Pooh!  My name's Sweet Girl!" and proceeded to hug him.  I even have pictures where she looks as thrilled on the outside as I know she was on the inside.  Fortunately in the pictures you can't see the tears in my eyes.  We also rode the Winnie the Pooh ride a total of five times.  The queue is awesome with a play area for the kids and giant touch screen panels made to look like dripping honey with characters hidden somewhere in the sweet deluge.  Sweet Girl took the imagery a bit too literally and licked one (maybe two).  I'm sure they're completely sanitary and that the weird color of her tongue for the next week had nothing to do with the licking.  Also, turns out Little Man has a favorite character in Eeyore.  He refused all but two plush characters; Mickey Mouse and Eeyore.  So my sunny Little Man has a plush with a dark cloud.

*Round 'n Round and Up 'n Down - Nana and Papa took the kids for a day while Carrie and I rode some rides that were too tall for the shorties.  By the way, best ride yet on Tower of Terror.  They were very adventurous and rode buses, went on slides, and even went on the carousel at Downtown Disney.  Sweet Girl has also overcome her great dislike of carousels and now prefers them over pretty much any other ride that is not Pooh related.  So I knew we would be riding the carousel in Magic Kingdom as well.  We waited in line and then Nana saddled Little Man up and I got Sweet Girl situated.  I wasn't sure if Little Man would take to it, but as soon as the horse started to move up and down he started giggling.  It was pretty awesome for all of us.  So awesome it didn't even trigger Nana's vertigo.  We also rode the carousel again because it was nice that they both liked it, and they needed to get their fill of it there as the estimates on building one in the backyard are ridiculously expensive.

*All Ears - Little Man needed a haircut.  Well, he perpetually needs a haircut but it was particularly mushroomish when we got there.  So we decided to let the barber shop at the Magic Kingdom work some magic.  It was honestly pretty great.  Miss Margaret transfixed Little Man's drowsy attention by covering him with a large number of stickers and then used two of the stickers to affix his paper towel cape.  She had bubbles and a million different spin/light-up toys to distract him from the fact that she was coming at him with scissors.  Sweet Girl thought the bubbles and toys were pretty sweet and if someone else hadn't walked in after us, I would've asked Miss Margaret to work her magic on Sweet Girl too.  Little Man's hair was shaping up nicely and then we got to the part where the clippers come out.  I've never used them on Little Man, but I know it can be traumatic for some kids so I was a little worried.  But I needn't be: Miss Margaret was on it.  She used the (very quiet) clippers to give Little Man a "massage" on his shoulders and back and then his ears.  Before he even knew what hit him, Miss Margaret was done and holding up the mirror for Little Man to admire himself.  Then she was wrapping up a lock of his hair for me, handing me extra pixie dust, grabbing the "First Haircut" Mickey Mouse ears hat out of the case, and filling out his Certificate of Bravery.  Little Man looked less Amish (nothing against how the Amish look of do their grooming, it's just that we're not Amish and I'm afraid the nearby local Amish community is going to get mad at me for dressing my son in anything other than suspendered pants in a case of mistaken identity) and the whole experience was wonderful.

I could go on and on (Sweet Girl loves every kind of transportation!  Little Man hates the water but digs five year olds in two-piece swimsuits!  Papa and Carrie are great substitutions for an exercise ball!  Some woman told her child to sit still and quiet on the bus like Sweet Girl!  Sweet Girl serenaded the interminably long Southwest check-in line with selections from the Broadway musical Annie!  Carrie and I took a boat ride that inspired Inferno!) but you'd get bored and my hands would hurt.  The only thing missing from the trip was Sean.  There was a little bit of sad in every happy moment because he wasn't there.  But I'm going to make him take us back sometime soon so he can relive what we tell him.  Though he might skip the haircut.  Even Disney doesn't have enough magic to make that happen.