Geek. Pirate. Mom

The Life and Times of Whitney Drake

Archive for July, 2011

Not a fan of today.

Today would have been Jerad’s 32nd birthday. Last night, as I was on my way to go see a friend I worked with at Disneyland (actually my favorite trainee), I glanced at my phone to see that it was helpfully reminding me that today was Jerad’s birthday.

It’s odd. Last night was so wonderful- talking to people that I’d really only last seen at Jerad’s memorial, and it felt as though no time had passed. So even though I’d been nervous about how the night would go… it was wonderful.

I don’t have much more to say. Just that today has been a definite low, from feeling depressed enough that I ate a slice of pizza knowing I’d pay for it later, to just wanting to sleep all day. Tomorrow will be better, I just have to get through today. Hopefully without giving in to more gluten. Ugh.

E-Books, good or bad for writers?

Last week, I logged onto Twitter to find this tweet (retweeted by a cartoonist/writer I follow):

Lynn linked to this post, which discusses the payment model with big publishers. Namely the fact that when it comes to ebooks, the publishers make big bucks simply because they don’t have to pay for printing or distribution- but don’t pass over anything additional to the author.

While this is certainly sad for writers, to say that you’re going to stop buying all ebooks is a bit distressing.

Ryne Douglas Pearson (@rynedp) is one of the writers that I adore following on Twitter. He was the first published writer I followed on Twitter that followed me back, and well, the man loves bacon. Recently, he’s been promoting the fact that Amazon has one of his ebooks for free. And was giving away another of his ebooks. In his blog, he recently wrote about getting back publication rights for his out of print books, which are or soon will be released as ebooks. So obviously, ebooks work for him.

And for new authors, bucking the publishing houses seems to be the way to go. I follow a lot of writers who have gone the indie route, and all of them have raved about people finding them through ebooks- that they simply needed to invest some money in an editor and in the formatting of the ebook, and they’ve done quite well. An indie author I follow, Nancy Kelley (@nancy_kelley), said that to her it doesn’t matter how the book finds its way into someone’s hands, that it’s fine with her. That ebook or paper, the book has still found its way to someone.

Others have raved about using free ebooks as marketing tools. Where you give away your ebooks in the beginning to help build a fan base. For a lot of independent authors, the thought is that the ebook is the best marketing tool. If someone downloads a free ebook, they’ll be more likely to pay for one of your books if they enjoyed it. Others hope that if someone loves the ebook, that they’ll buy a hardcopy of the book.

I do understand Lynn being upset that publishers are cheating authors of profits. Unfortunately, publishers are aware that their role in the writing world is in jeopardy. While of course everyone wants to be published, there simply isn’t enough money in the market to justify taking on lots of new talent and marketing them. So they’re going to cling to whatever profits they possibly can.

But I don’t think the answer is an all out ebook ban. I know that I’ve tried out ebooks for new authors that I wasn’t sure about, and if I liked the book, it goes on my to buy list. For me, it’s the same as going to a used bookstore and picking up books from local and unfamiliar authors. If I liked the book, I usually start looking for more books from the author in regular bookstores or online. While I don’t actually have an ereader yet, I use the Kindle app and have found it to be a good way to “test drive” new talent. While I might not want to spent $5-$15 on a physical book I might not enjoy, I’ll certainly buy a ebook that’s anywhere from free to $5. If I didn’t like it, then I delete it and I don’t have to figure out what to do with the book I didn’t really enjoy.

Personally, I plan on self-publishing my novels. My goal is to write, be read, and hopefully make my life a bit more comfortable with the book sales. While I would love to get an agent and a publisher, I’m just not sure if that’s where the publishing world is headed these days. Unless they learn to adapt.

Thoughts? I’d love to know what you think.

Anniversaries and Such

Sunday was my anniversary. Seven years ago, I married a wonderful man. It still seems like yesterday.

Since our trip to Las Vegas (more on that soon, I promise) was for our anniversary, we weren’t really going to go out to dinner or anything big. Instead, we decided to take the kidlets to the beach- something that the Oldest Kidlet has been asking to do more of the summer.

Living in Southern California, we’ve taken the boys to the beach every summer since the Little Kidlet could walk. The first year we took the boys to the beach, the Oldest Kidlet walked up to where the beach began to slope downward to the waterline, and ran right back to me. “It’s too loud,” he said about the waves crashing. The second year, he didn’t even bother to leave our blanket, asking us to bring him water to help build a sandcastle.

There was something different about him yesterday morning. We surprised them with the trip to the beach, just like we surprise them with trips to Disneyland or anywhere else that we’ll have to pack for. From the start, he was determined to go in the water. He told me so all the way to the beach, though it’s not unheard of for him to change his mind at the last minute. We’re so used to this that TheBoy didn’t even put on his swim trunks. The little one prefers his water in a bathtub, so it wasn’t likely he’d want to go in either.

The first attempt began not long after setting up our blanket and chairs. My son walked down to where the sand starts to become damp, turned and ran right back to me. This happened a few more times. Then he convinced his little brother to go (not a hard feat to do- all you have to do is say “Come on Little Kidlet, let’s” and finish it with whatever you want to do). They walked right to the point where the beach slopes to the water, and while the little one ran back to me, he walked straight into the water and turned. He might have been a good 30 feet away, but the look of pure joy on his face was unmistakable.

They came back, and he was breathlessly excited. He told me all about jumping in the waves, and swallowing salt water. He rested on our blanket, wrapped in a towel, but you could see in his eyes that he wanted nothing more to be back in the surf. TheBoy napped while the boys dug holes in the sand, and as soon as the Oldest Kidlet was bored, he woke up his father and dragged him back down to the shore.

The Little Kidlet tried to go down, but mostly refused to walk back to the blanket when he decided not to go to the water. So I’d have to rush towards him, scoop him up and carry him back. We passed the time by building giant mounds of sand, and using what little wet sand I had to make a small sand castle. An hour later, I was able to get TheBoy’s attention and brought he and the Oldest Kidlet back to our blanket. They had no idea it’d been that long.

All the Oldest Kidlet could do was gush about how much fun the beach had been (after the lengthy nap he began in the car, that is). Even as I was herding him upstairs towards bed, I could see it in his eyes. He’d rather be dancing in the surf.

Note: Previous trips to the beach, we were harassed by the people selling beach toys, and had one of their kids refuse to leave our kids alone the last time (he wasn’t a mean kid, just bossy and rude). We expected it this time, but the biggest nuisance came from the Scientologists that were giving our free audits next to the pier. Seriously. I meant to get a picture on the way back to the car, but my arms were full.

(This post is an edit of a piece I’d written for @The3six5 as a backup post Sunday night. They didn’t use it then, but posted it naturally… today. So if you see it again, now you know why)

The Things We Say.

I’m still not entirely sure how the game started. I think my youngest was hanging onto my arm and I jokingly said “Just hold on, I’ll pull you to safety.” It snowballed into a game where he’d sit on the floor and hold onto my hand, slip from my grip and quietly scream as he apparently fell.

The Oldest Kidlet watched us play and immediately described it as the game where you fall off a cliff. Oops.

My boys play the game with each other now, in the car, at home… and I’d be more disturbed by what I started if it didn’t keep them happily occupied.

Yesterday I was feeling the beginning of a headache creep in as we were on our way home from school. The boys were loudly playing the game, and that’s when I said it. “Could you two die more quietly?”

My oldest said, “What?”

“Um,” I said, embarrassed, “Could you two fall off the cliff quietly?”

Not much better. But oh, well.

This I add to the long list of bizarre things I’ve said as a parent. Reminders that little brothers aren’t dogs and won’t fetch toys, or that little brothers aren’t ponies. Or that no matter how loud your brother was yelling in your ear, you don’t hit him with a wooden train.

We’re reaching a milestone, though. Tomorrow is the Oldest Kidlet’s last day of preschool. We’ve been reminding him that he’ll be starting kindergarten at a new school. He was worried about not having any friends, which had me start to be upset- sometime soon I’ll post about my own anxiety issues. I pointed out that everyone at the kindergarten would be just starting at that school so he wouldn’t be the only one who didn’t know anyone, and that made him feel fine. I also explained that all his friends at preschool were going to different schools anyways.

Where does the time go?

Goodbye Borders.

It’s always sad when another bookstore chain closes. I remember watching Crown Books and Waldenbooks disappear, as well as smaller independent bookstores vanish in place of Borders and Barnes & Noble. Of the two, Borders always felt a bit more like a local store- with gift wrapping done by local charity groups, and plenty of events for kids and so on. Not to mention that I loved their online search. It meant that I could easily find the book I was looking for, and would even tell me what part of the store it was in! Not to mention how easy it was to special order books. Often with B&N, it was a hassle, but Borders always made it easy.

But it was easy to see where things went wrong. As Amazon became more and more popular, Barnes & Noble put more money into their website. Borders went to Amazon and had them operate their online store. Then Amazon later decided to focus on the e-reader market, developing the Kindle. Barnes & Noble immediately started to develop their own, and it took ages for Borders to jump on the e-reader bandwagon. By the time they did, B&N and Amazon were overtaking their market share… and it was a losing battle.

So goodbye Borders. I spent lots of time in your Santa Barbara store while I waited for my sister or my mom. I practically lived at your Orange store, doing the bulk of my Christmas shopping there because you carried music, movies, books and stationary type things.

That was a picture from 3 years ago, when the Oldest Kidlet was a little thing, and his brother was a newborn. We were doing some holiday shopping there (DVDs for some, a notebook for my sister and a sports book for my father in law) and the boys fell asleep. Not long after that, it was impossible to leave Borders without buying a new book for the kidlets. Or books, the Oldest Kidlet managed to get a few book sets out of it.

I just hope that the brick and mortar bookstore won’t be a thing of the past. On our vacation, TheBoy and I stopped at a Barnes & Noble to pick up a few books when he finished the book he’d brought to Vegas. It was nice to be able to browse and immediately have books in my hands instead of waiting for something to ship… as great as e-readers are (I love my Kindle app on my phone, and have been debating getting one), there is something magical about a brand new book spine and the smell of paper.

What about other children?

I’m in lovely sunny Las Vegas, and as I just reached a wall with my novel, I thought I’d unwind a bit and look at Facebook. Where I’ve received 3 invitations each to two FB events. One, Porchlights for Caylee and the other Balloons for Caylee.

Enough. It’s not that I don’t understand the outpouring of emotion at what people perceive to be a lack of justice. It’s that there are so many other missing/exploited/murdered children that don’t even receive 1/1000th of the attention that Caylee Anthony’s death received.

I roll my eyes at the attempt to right a wrong by passing Caylee’s Law, which would make it illegal for a parent to not report the death of a child within a specific time frame or to not report a missing child in a longer time frame. Both of which are unrealistic- there are plenty of circumstances where a parent might not be able to contact police, and a law would likely be unfairly applied to parents in shock (how can you disprove that a parent was so overwhelmed at the sight of their dead child that they fainted for hours?) or injured. Don’t believe me? Following Columbine, zero-tolerance rules for weapons were issued in schools across the country, and now you have kids being expelled for having a Swiss army knife in their backpack.

And sadly- kids lie. A lot of children who go missing usually do so after telling their parents that they were at their friends for a sleepover. How is a parent supposed to know that their child has been missing for 24 hours?

We can’t turn back the hands of time, people. While it’s wonderful that people want to raise awareness by letting balloons go… shouldn’t we be doing more to make sure that we say something when we see a child whose parent is neglectful at best? Shouldn’t we be speaking up when a child in the neighborhood like Christian Coate suddenly stop going to school and pushing to make sure that things are done? Shouldn’t we be speaking up to children’s services when children who’ve been in the foster system are being sent back home to birth parents that are dangerous?

The justice system didn’t fail Caylee. Sadly, there just wasn’t enough evidence. In this day and age where forensics make for exciting television, jurors want forensic evidence- a strong link to show that definitively that person killed someone. But there just wasn’t enough. Casey Anthony is a vile person, but the evidence just wasn’t there.

Someone once said that they’d rather 100 guilty people go free, than one innocent person be jailed. If we start insisting that juries make leaps of faith regularly, it’d be far too easy to say that person X was a narcissist in real life and put them in jail for something they didn’t do.

My heart breaks every time I hear of a parent harming their child. I just don’t understand how you can look at someone who shares your DNA, or in the case of adopted/foster children, someone that you’ve taken in to care for… how you can look at them and not see that they’re a human being that needs protection and love. But it happens. Instead of continuing to focus on a child that was sadly lost…. shouldn’t we be looking for children that we can save?

If you want to make a difference, stop doing something passive. Joining an event, RTing a link… it spreads awareness, but it means nothing if you don’t actually do something to help. Find a children’s charity, pay more attention to the kids in your life. Just do something.

Sensational Title Goes Here!

I think that the internet has been a good thing for news. Instead of having to wait until the next airing of the local news, you can get access to what’s going on in your area right now. Very useful.

However, there are a couple of problems with internet news. Big ones, too. The first problem is the human tendency to want to be… first! Look at any comment thread on a site, and you’ll find the person who feels the need to post “first” even though they have nothing else to say. What does this have to do with news? It seems more and more often that in the rush to be first, a lot of news desks will put up incomplete stories, often with unverified information. A good example of this was the story that broke nationally from rural Texas, where police were searching a property after getting a tip from a psychic that there were bodies buried there. No bodies were found, but by then nearly every major media outlet was throwing out headlines about remains being found. Corrections were issued, but not until everyone looked a little silly.

It was clear that news agencies were getting their information from other news agencies, playing telephone. Had anyone called the law enforcement agency in question, they would have said that it was merely a tip.

Which leads to the second problem, which is that news sites are also driven by page views. Headlines are written to entice people to click on the story. Which is how you wind up with stories like last nights’ “Glee’s Lea Michele, Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith not returning next season”. It reads as though they won’t be coming back for Season Three, but instead all the stories were about an interview that Ryan Murphy gave where he confirmed that Season Three would be their last seasons- since they’d be graduating. Which is nothing new for anyone who watched Glee. Each season has been a school year, it’d be a little silly if the majority of the seniors didn’t graduate.

Even when the headlines weren’t ambiguous, they were trying to push an idea that anyone who was a fan of the show already knew. After all, you can’t exactly call it “Glee” if the show is about the same kids after they’ve graduated.

Is it too much to ask to actually get something that’s been researched and proof-read, and have headlines that are less tabloid, more news?

Frying, my culinary true love.

I admit it. If it can be fried, odds are I’ll fry it. I’ve already promised my mom to draw the line at frying butter, so don’t worry people. I won’t be installing a deep fryer here either.

Saturday night, I was the lone adult in the house, and while I had food for the kidlets covered, I’d completely forgotten about dinner for myself. So I looked up a couple recipes and winged fried mozzarella sticks. I learned a valuable lesson- when they mention that you can use a skillet, but need the oil to be able to cover the sticks… there’s a reason why. Mine weren’t perfect, but they were good.

Also over the weekend, I’d been chatting with my friend Bryan about my upcoming trip to Vegas. He sent me a link to the Tropicana’s website, so that I could see their updated decor and that’s when I saw this beauty…

Lamb tacos, using fried eggplant for the shell! I have no real idea how big they are, but I was immediately thinking of making an Italian version, with a meat sauce inside the shell.

At the store today, we picked up an eggplant, but as soon as I started to slice into it I realized that those would be some tiny tiny tacos. So I decided to simply go with fried eggplant…

Ingredients

1 eggplant
2 eggs
cornstarch
1 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free)
salt & pepper
1/2 tsp dried basil

vegetable oil

Before you even think of heating the oil, set up your dredging stations. You’ll need three pans, as well as a papertowel covered wire rack for your eggplant to wait before being fried.

In the first plate, pour out your cornstarch. I think it was about 1 cup. Spread it into a nice flat layer. In the second plate, crack your two eggs and whisk until they’re nicely mixed up. Season with a good pinch of salt. In the third plate, mix the breadcrumbs and dried basil, and season with pepper (and any other seasonings you want. Garlic powder? Cayenne pepper?).

Now, pour the oil into a heavy bottomed skillet (about 1″ deep) and heat the oil over medium until it gets up to about 375.

Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch slices.

While you’re waiting for the oil to come to temperature, start dredging. Coat the eggplant first in the cornstarch, shaking off any excess. Then put it in the egg, and use a fork to flip it over to make sure it’s coated thoroughly in the egg. From there, drop it with one hand into the breadcrumbs and use another fork to make sure it gets covered in breadcrumbs. When a slice is done, put it on the paper towel lined wire rack and move on to the next one. (Tip: try to keep one hand for using the cornstarch plate and another for once it’s wet- it’ll make things a lot less gunky) Finish them all before you start frying.

Put 2 eggplant into the oil, and when the bottom is golden brown, flip it over using tongs (it won’t take very long, probably about a minute). Move to a paper towel lined plate when the second side is done, and repeat until done. Avoid the temptation to crowd the pan – any more than two pieces at a time, and it’ll cause your oil to drop in temperature and you’ll wind up with greasy eggplant. But really, it goes so quickly that it won’t take you long at all to work in batches of two.

You can have it as a meal or as an appetizer, topped/dipped with/in your favorite marinara sauce.

Butter Rum Lifesavers, My Dad and Me.

I talk a lot about my mom, and how much she influences me to this day. But there’s so much of me that I owe to my dad. Most of my facial features come from my dad, though most people say that I take after my mom. Other than skin tone, it’s pretty much all my dad. Serious super dark eyes? My dad. Straight dark brown hair with cowlicks in the back? Dad.

I’ve said quite often that food was an important part of my life, and I have to say… I learned a lot from my dad, even if he’d never imagine that I would have. Being that my mom’s a pescetarian, when I have questions about cooking meat, I usually go to my dad. Also, he worked at a steakhouse during college, both in the kitchen and waiting tables- so he actually is a much better cook than he gives himself credit for. I have many fond memories of eggs benedict with hollandaise sauce that he whipped up for us (and this was after I’d sworn off of eggs), and of the amazing Plankhouse fried zucchini (which used panko bread crumbs before they were trendy).

But most importantly, his stories from his time working as a waiter taught me a lot about restaurant service. And well, people in general. I remember a story about a family who came in near closing time, all dusty, dirty and grimy. None of the waitresses wanted the table, so my dad took it. He looked past the grime and took care of the group, and discovered that it was the son’s birthday. They’d been working on their ranch the whole day (I grew up in Arizona, and yes, people do have cattle ranches out there) and knew that if they took the time to wash up and change, that they’d never make it to the restaurant in time. They thanked my dad for treating them kindly and left him a HUGE tip. Lesson learned: don’t judge a book by its cover.

My dad wanted to have girls, and he got two of us. He wasn’t about to push us into sports, but he did make sure that we knew how to throw a baseball, catch a ball, and properly hold a bat. I loathed PE. Being one of the shorter kids in school, and not exactly the most athletic I was always on the team of losers. It’s rude to say, but it’s true. I was on the team with the other short, scrawny kids and the chubby girls. Except for two sports. When it came to softball, I was always on the best team, playing shortstop. Unlike the other girls who were afraid of being hit by the ball or of colliding with someone when running for a base, I went for it. (The other sport I excelled at? Tennis. Another sport my dad taught me to play)

He taught me how to use power tools. Now, both my parents are extremely good at DIY. Before there were cable channels dedicated to it, I grew up watching Bob Vila, This Old House and New Yankee Workshop. My dad loves woodworking, even though he doesn’t get as much time to work on things as he’d want to. He and my mom collaborated to build a gorgeous cradle dinghy for the boys that they still use today (to play in, not as a cradle). But yes, I learned how to use power tools, and even built bird feeders by myself (with his supervision) for my 8th grade science fair project.

My dad is a geek (he has to be, he’s a mechanical engineer), and made sure that we had some pretty good computers as we grew up. I remember sitting in the “other room” with him, helping upgrade sound cards and adding memory. He showed me that I didn’t have to be afraid to open up my computer and fix it myself. He also encouraged me to learn DOS and BASIC- telling me early on that computers weren’t just “boy things,” and that I should always be proud of how much I know about computers. (Before anyone asks: I haven’t spent that much time keeping up with computers. I can’t fix them for you. I can still upgrade stuff, but seriously, so you can you. You just need to watch a few videos on the internet and read the instructions that come with everything)

He also introduced me to a lot of great things. Big Band music, for one. My dad has a great collection of Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman records, including Benny Goodman’s Carnegie Hall concert. I remember when my sister and I were first old enough to be left home alone while the parents were out running errands. Our idea of being rebellious was putting on a few records, especially the Carnegie Hall record so that we could listen to the 12 minute version of Sing, Sing, Sing with all those amazing solos. But listening to it is still pure magic. And he’s the one who really introduced me to all the band leaders and their different sounds. Which is why I danced with him to Moonlight Serenade at my wedding.

He’s also the one who got me into James Bond movies. One night my sister and I were home alone (my parents were at the neighbors), we were flipping through channels and caught part of The Spy Who Loved Me. I mentioned it to my dad, who made sure that I started at the “best” Bond movies… starting with Sean Connery from the start. When Pierce Brosnan was named the next James Bond, we eagerly awaited GoldenEye and saw it together. A little awkward during the Xenia scenes, but it was our new ritual. We saw every Brosnan Bond movie together after that. Well, almost. I cheated and saw The World is Not Enough with TheBoy, but it truly felt like cheating. So I made sure to hold off and wait to see Die Another Day (appropriately abbreviated DAD) with him. And even though it’s the worst of the Brosnan Bond movies, we were able to laugh about how bad it was, and how badly cast Halle Berry was.

He was there when I left for college (he worked less than a mile from my school) and was there to cheer me up when I had ridiculous teachers who felt like I should fit into a label that I didn’t. He’d pick me up at my dorm with a roll of butter rum lifesavers (or the bag of individually wrapped ones) and take me to lunch. By the end of lunch, I’d feel better and able to face the world.

I remember the first big fight I had with TheBoy. We’d been together for two years and living together for about a year and a half, and it seems in relationships that you usually have a fight around that time. I honestly wasn’t sure if it was the end of our relationship. Panicked, I called my dad, catching him as he left work. He turned around, and took me out to dinner. He bought me some comfort food, and talked to me candidly about relationships. While my mom had told me that relationships hit bumpy patches, he admitted that every relationship seems to hit really big ones now and then. That it’s when you hit those moments that you have to take stock and decide whether or not you really love this person, and whether or not you think you can get past the fight. I calmed down, and he dropped me back at the apartment. And I knew (obviously) that I wasn’t ready to bail on our relationship, that I was ready to work past the bumps and be with TheBoy.

While my mom was usually the one to punish us (mostly because as kids, my dad traveled a lot for work), my dad usually was the one to help talk us down from being mad at my mom (as she was always right, and we were wrong). Except for a couple notable moments, when he proved he was just as capable of scaring us straight. One day, I was being a surly 10-12 year old (I was surly at that age, less so as a teenager, go fig) and kept slamming my door. He came barging into my room with a tool box and dared me to do it one more time, saying that he’d take the door off the hinges. And I knew that he could, and would take it off. I didn’t slam the door anymore. In that same time frame, I remember being a snot about not wanting to take a shower. Why, I have no idea, but I suppose I thought I was making some sort of stand. My dad picked me up and threw me into a cold running shower… while I was fully dressed. In jeans. Parents, if you want a lesson to really stick, make the punishment involve cold wet jeans. To this day, I still won’t go anywhere near water if I’m wearing jeans- I remember how heavy they were, and how hard they were to get off…

I could keep naming moments where my dad came through for me, conversations we had in the car when we car pooled, or tell you the number of Fatburgers we consumed over lunch breaks. But I figured I’ll just leave you with the picture I have of my dad that sums up the perfect moment with him.

There we were, getting ready to walk down the aisle. I was nervous as could be- not about getting married, but because every person kept telling me to be careful walking on the aisle runner (fabric on a wood floor). I was terrified that I was going to fall in front of everyone. He let me squeeze the heck out of his hand, and told me that it wasn’t going to happen.

So thanks, Daddy-o. Happy belated birthday.

Getting caught up.

I suppose I’m glad I didn’t try to set up affiliate accounts with Amazon or Overstock. Because California wants to collect sales tax from Amazon (which, btw, they could have done ages ago), both companies severed their affiliates program. Which is a shame. Apparently people were making decent livings off of those!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, which seems odd to say now that it’s summer. But it’s been busy.

As I think we mentioned, earlier this year we bought annual passes to Disneyland. So when we get the chance, we head off to The Park. We hadn’t gone in awhile, so we headed off. I’m not sure why we weren’t anticipating this, but the trip itself wasn’t so great. We’d had so many wonderful trips recently with kids who took turns picking rides, not fussing about where we ate… that we just weren’t prepared for two kids who decided to meltdown at the drop of a hat.

I’m sharing this for those who enjoy schadenfreude as well as for parents of little kids who need to know that they aren’t alone. We were discussing rides to go on, and after we’d decided to go across the park to ride the Big Boats (er, the Columbia and Mark Twain) I suggest we take the train around. It’s the train, my kids’ collective favorite. Nope. Mentioning the train was enough to make my oldest start wailing and screeching about how he wanted to walk. We resolved that with a snack, and things were fine for awhile. Then we went to the Pirates Lair (formerly Tom Sawyer’s Island). We had fun… up until it was time to leave.

Both of them decided that they were not going to leave and plopped down on the ground screaming. Probably the worst public tantrums we’ve ever had. And the worst part was that we had to wait for a raft off the island while they were flipping out. People were unbelievably kind (leading me to believe that most of the parents there had been there before, and that well, they could see we were trying our best).

That isn’t to say that we didn’t have there weren’t a majority of wonderful moments. I took the Little Kidlet on the Columbia (a replica Tall Ship) and he was convinced he was a member of the crew. He took his spot at the helm, manned the bilge pumps and rang the bell. Considering how much I love sailing ships and the Age of Sail, it was wonderful to see that he loves it just as much as me.

Earlier in the day, we saw Peter Pan in the Park. We were just outside the castle, sitting on a bench near the walkway that leads to Snow White’s Grotto and had already seen a couple princesses walk by. The Oldest Kidlet decided that they must have been visiting Sleeping Beauty for tea. We were just talking about Pixie Hollow and pixie dust, and Peter Pan, when… Peter Pan came running towards us, leaping over a bench. If he was able to do parkour, I have a feeling he would have. On his way, he saw a woman in her 20′s wearing a Peter Pan hat and ran up behind her, grabbed her shoulders and shouted, “I like your hat!” Then he was off sprinting towards Fantasyland. The woman jumped a good few feet, and the kidlets, TheBoy and I couldn’t stop laughing.

Looking back on it, TheBoy and I could see the things we missed. The little cues that excited kidlets were hungry and tired. While it made for a difficult day, it’ll certainly help stop future trips from ending in tears. (We did leave after the Pirate Lair meltdowns)

Proof that we actually did have a nice time

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