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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy Memories of Years Gone By....26 years

I've had quite a bit of death in my life.  It's become sort of numbing to me. There are, however, a few deaths that hit me right to my core.  Gary's death is one of those.

Today is the anniversary Gary's death.  Gary was my very first real love.....

I am NOT going to be all melancholy today.  I have been melancholy in the past.

Today, I've decided to reminisce about the silly stuff...The stuff that makes me smile when I think back.

When Gary and I dated, we were in high school.  He was a year older than me and he drove.  My parents hated that.  They hated everything about me being in a car with a boy on so many levels, but Gary was a nice guy.  He had an art of schmoozing parents and winning them over.  Whether they should have been won over or not.  When push came to shove - I was allowed to date him, but I was not allowed to ride in the car with him.

Truth be told - he was trouble and I loved every second of it...

He was fast and wild.  He had a really hot Oldsmobile Cutlass.  A total muscle car, souped up for racing and FAST.  Many a night he would call for me to come out.  I was not allowed to be in Gary's car... yeah OK.... (I was a bit rebellious as well).  No one really ever asked me where I was going when I left the house, so I'd say I was going out and walk a few blocks down where he'd pick me up.  Often times, we'd go to where he'd drag with the other guys in the area.  I'd sit up on the hill and watch.
I loved it!

Inevitably... one night, I got caught.  My uncle was at the Quick Check on Main Avenue and saw me getting into Gary's car.  He went straight to my house and told my parents.  I was grounded.  Actually, I was always grounded - but that's another story.

Gary STILL found a way to schmooze so that he could see me.  I loved that. He'd go above and beyond what needed to be done.  It was both a blessing and a curse in our relationship.

This particular time, he came to the door with Van Halen tickets and begged my parents to please let me out.  He'd spend a ton of money on these concert tickets and he really wanted me to be there.  That story would NEVER have flown if I'd told it... but sure enough, not only was I allowed out, but I was allowed to drive in his car AND go to the concert - arriving home well after my normal curfew.  All with parental approval.

I never understood how he was able to pull these things off, but I loved that he did these things for me - just to make me feel special.

Gary is gone 26 years today.  I'll never forget him or the ways he went out of his way to make me smile.  Even when I didn't want to.

Thank you, Gary.  Thank you for setting the bar high enough for me to know how I want people to treat me. Thank you for being a part of my life and a part of my heart.

Rest in sweet peace, friend...

~Jenn

Gary died tragically and suddenly.  We were not dating at the time.  We'd broken up a few years earlier, but remained close.  He is someone I will always think of with a smile.

Thank you for reading this tribute to him.

I wish you all someone who will cause you to set the bar high & make you smile when you think of them...


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Friday, July 26, 2013

My GOSH, put that thing away... Will you???

This whole Weiner's weiner thing is a bit much already...

No offense guys, but I don't want to see it.
Put it away where it belongs. 
I don't want to turn my phone on and see a penis on the screen EVER.


I mean, maybe some chicks are into that - but no thanks.  
And YES, I am straight.
Yes, I like men, as a matter of fact I LOVE men...
No, I don't ever want to see a picture of your penis.

Is that so wrong??

Honestly, that would piss me off (no pun intended.)

I feel like saying....
"Does your MOMMY know you're showing people that??
Put it away NOW!  And go stand in the corner."

Yes, I know it's a very proud item for you studly bunch.  I know that if anything ever happened to that body part, life as you know it would be over.


This was actually a joke in my household when my dad was alive.
My dad was sick, really sick, and we were taking care of him.  He had diabetes and was NOT taking care of himself properly.  We had him all fixed up and he decided to go to Florida to hide.  When my husband and I went to go see him, he was a mess.  We found Burger King wrappers, etc.  He could barely breathe.  He couldn't walk.  He was to the couch - very ill.  We tried to make him come home with us.... NO... He was going nowhere.  That was until a few days later, when he began to fill up with water.  He had severe pulmonary edema, but not nearly "sick enough" to listen to me.

THEN....  something terrible... something AWFUL happened....
He awoke to find that "the boys" were swollen to the size of grapefruits.
He could not breathe OR walk but OMG the boys..
What's wrong with the boys????  "Help me NOW!"


It was only THIS that prompted him to make an emergency call to me....  "I'm coming home.  I arranged a flight.  I need help."

Of course I was in a panic thinking he couldn't breathe, he was going to have a heart attack....  I called every doctor, took every emergency precaution from the airport to the hospital and drove off to meet him.  We found him immediately, swooped him into a wheel chair and headed to the hospital...  Only to find out that what he was really upset about...the boys.

REALLY????

Breathing... not a big deal at ALLLLLLL...the boys... super swollen?  AHHHHHHHHHHHH

I didn't care what his reasoning was at that point.  Whatever needed to happen to get him help, got him home...  As the ever dutiful daughter, I got him admitted for his PULMONARY EDEMA, not his swollen boys, and he was cared for.

Oh my gosh... Yes, of course - the boys were all happy again.  The swelling did go down AND he could breathe again.

Like I said - it became the joke...Oh crap, I just cut off my arm with a chain saw - let's just wrap a towel around that bad boy and continue.  Oh NO - I've just nicked my Zippity Doo Da with the razor - CALL THE PARAMEDICS.  QUICK!

So I get it... You like your manhood.  A LOT!

But do we really need to see it??

Put it away, will ya???

Before I go call your mommy!


Thank you for reading my blog!!

~Jenn


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Thursday, July 25, 2013

Well hello there, inner demons.... I've been wondering where you've been hiding...

Last year I made a decision that I was no longer going to let the inner demons that usually drag me down this time of the year get to me again.  I've chosen to embrace the memories & release the pain that generally comes about by the anniversaries of terribly sad deaths.

I'm still holding to that decision, but knowing the dates are coming near -  I began to think of all the time I'd wasted being so terribly sad or trying to run away from those painful memories.  The times I'd pretended certain issues didn't exist.

There's some truth in the statement that if you forget your past,
you're doomed to repeat it.


You can run as far and as fast as you can from the past....
it will always catch you.
The truth is that there will ALWAYS be someone around who remembers things; the stuff you don't want to think about, the things you've buried.  Somewhere, sometime, someone will bring something up.  There's no hiding - it's there in your face.  You can no longer pretend it doesn't exist.

I've done quite a lot of that in my life.  The hiding, that is...  Keeping secret the things I never wanted anyone to know about.  Things I buried because I didn't want to deal with them.

Granted, some of the crap in my life was beyond my control.  I can't help the things others have done.  I can no longer control the way I'd acted in the past.  I can only control NOW.


I had a lesson on what happens when you don't deal with the past & how you're inevitably doomed to repeat it.  At one time, a long buried secret tore me apart inside.  It was something that I was deeply ashamed of, for no good reason and something that caused me to snap during a time when things were already ... interesting in my life.  An old "issue" came to light and brought psycho Jenn out from her deep slumber.  I'm not proud, but it is what it is.  It caused me to address the situation for what it was.  It also gave me an opportunity to finally take a good look at things for what they really were and realize... I didn't want any of that!  I was finally free!!
I finally got rid of those demons!  Finally!

Sometimes you need to step back.  Embrace the crap that you hate and just say, "hey, this may suck, but it's a part of who I am."

 


Nothing is perfect in life.  Nothing.

We all have scars and the things that we hide from or wish would disappear.

In embracing my demons, I've found a new peace.
Admittedly, I do still shut down & go to my dark place once in a while.
Dealing with it is easier since I've accepted that these things happened, none of these things define who I am.

I can't change who I was, what I'd done or what was done to me - but I can learn the lessons and forge ahead knowing that I'm really happy with who I've become.  Scars and all.

 ...and when push comes to shove - that's all that matters.

Thank you for reading my blog!!

~Jenn

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

What'd she just say?


I usually try to keep my blog posts clean and free of anything that might offend people...

When it comes to kids, especially young ones, and the things they say - all bets are off.


Our short one is slated to give us a run for our money.  She's just the cutest little thing, but she's a bit on the needy side and wants to make an impression.  A BIG impression!  She's also very smart.  Always listening and always ready to use what she's learned in any situation that it will bring attention to her.  Sometimes this is wonderful.  Sometimes it's a head shaking moment for momma.

Mornings are difficult here.  Hubby leaves super early - so there are three "girls" with three very different and strong personalities, trying to get ready for the day.  I...need my coffee and am not a morning person.  The short one...needs a stick of dynamite under her to get moving, and my older girlie just rolls with it most of the time (as she's bickering with the short one.)

One particular morning before school let out, I hear them bickering at the front door.

"NO, it's MY turn to stand first in line at the door."
"There's NO LINE at the door, GOSH."

And then, what I heard - I had to mentally question before I freaked out.... Because the next phrase I heard was....

"OUCH!"  (and a falling to the floor noise)  "You just hit me in the nuts.  My NUTS ARE KILLING ME."


WHAT the heck did she just say??  

So here's where mommy questions what she heard...  Did the short one just say that she got hit... in the nuts???  REALLY??

Enter mom...  Scratch that... Enter totally ANGRY mom getting ready to address the issue of the short female speaking in that way....

What do I see, but the short one on the ground holding her crotch stating that her "nuts are killing her."  UGH.... 

Ok, party's over kid...

First of all child, you are a GIRL.  Girls do not have "nuts".  "Nuts" are a slang, not nice term to describe boy parts - which you DO NOT HAVE - Because YOU are a GIRL!

Then she launched into the entire drama on how the older was swinging her lunch box and accidentally hit her in the "nuts."

AGAIN child....  You do NOT have those.  Does your private part hurt?

"NO... my NUTS hurt."

OMG Stop saying that!!  PLEASE stop saying that.

At this point, I was really just trying to not laugh... because, ya know... she was going for the full drama of the event and taking what she learned from a boy and projecting it upon herself....

It became time for a talk.  Not THE talk, but certainly A talk so that she will fully understand that at no time will she ever be hit in the "nuts".  Nor will she ever fall to the ground in excruciating pain for being hit in the non existent set.

Yeah, this one's going to give us a run for the money.

I almost can't wait for the next, "What'd she just say?"

ALMOST.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Monday, July 22, 2013

The Heroin Epidemic....

I write this post strictly as a mom...

Not someone one with a medical degree, or years of experience and knowledge on this subject, or as anyone who's ever traveled down this dark road.  I'm just a mom.

This weekend, I learned of yet ANOTHER lost life due to a heroin over dose.  A young man I only knew as a ten year old child on my son's ball team.  A young man that as a teenager occasionally came by our home to hang out with my son.  A young man who was always polite to me.  Someone I didn't know well, but knew of.

Yet his death has hit me in a way that makes my heart ache.
The heart ache of another young life LOST.  Snuffed out by addiction.
I don't know if it was his first go round or his 100th.
I do know it was his last.

20 years old and GONE.
What a damn shame!

He's not the first, nor will he be the last.  There have been many heroin related deaths in my town.  I live in a nice suburban town.  I don't live in the big city.  Apparently that doesn't matter.  There are no rules with this stuff!  It's everywhere.

I made a statement on my personal Facebook page that when I was younger, I don't remember this drug being something that was around.  I remember pot and pills.  I remember drug busts on that scale.  I also remembered that kids (at least the kids I was around) were scared of needles/shooting up scenario and scared of the notion that "once you start, you can never stop."  I may have been naive.  I don't know.  I just don't remember.

What I do know is that this particular killer is $3 a postage stamp sized bag.  It's cheap.  Very cheap!  Kids don't shoot it up.  They smoke it, they snort it.  They get caught up in the endless cycle of the cheap high.

It's terrifying.


“I’LL JUST TRY IT ONCE.”

Warning: Even a single dose of heroin can start a person on the road to addiction.

Many people experiment with heroin thinking, “I’ll try it once or twice. I can always stop.” But those who start down that road find it nearly impossible to turn back. Consider the words of Sam, a 15-year-old addict: “When you first shoot up, you will most likely puke and feel repelled, but soon you’ll try it again. It will cling to you like an obsessed lover. The rush of the hit and the way you’ll want more, as if you were being deprived of air—that’s how it will trap you.”

The threat of addiction is not the worst consequence of experimenting with heroin. Jim was 21 years old and usually spent his evenings drinking beer with friends. He had already experimented with heroin so when friends offered him a line to sniff, he accepted. Fifteen minutes after inhaling, he passed out, then dropped into a deep coma which lasted more than two months. Today, he is confined to a wheelchair, unable to write, barely able to read. Whatever dreams and aspirations he once had are gone.

There is no "trying it once."  It's a slippery slope that leads down an incredibly dark path.

According to the National Center for Disease Control's February 20, 2013 posting, drug overdose deaths have increased for the 11th consecutive year.

"38,329 people died from a drug overdose in the United States in 2010, up from 37,004 deaths in 2009. This continues the steady rise in overdose deaths seen over the past 11 years, starting with 16,849 deaths in 1999."

The former median age for over dose addiction had been 32-35 years of age.  That age has decreased to 20.2 years of age.

These are frightening statistics, and quite frankly - not something I can even wrap my head around or think of a way to "fix."

As a mom, a fixer, I feel helpless.  I don't know what to do.  I don't know how to help.  I don't know what more can be done.  I just don't.  Maybe I'm over emotional - but is that bad?

I can only thank God that my son is not around this right now, and I continue to pray that he stays away and that his other friends STAY AWAY from this stuff.

So that I don't need to attend another unnecessary funeral.

A funeral for a 20 year old young man, who didn't have to die.

Thank you for reading my blog.

~Jenn

If you are someone you love are suffering from addiction, please visit The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Get educated...  Get Help... 

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Thank you to the Jersey "reality" shows!

Yep - you heard me - Thank you!

I have to admit that despite my random Facebook postings, I am NOT the Party Girl I used to be once upon a time.


Do I enjoy a glass of wine or sangria every now & then?  Of course.  Do I get together with my friends and get silly?  Absolutely!

Heck I even have my very own disclaimer T-Shirt.  "No Longer Responsible for My Actions" - just in case. 

All this aside, the all night partying routinee it's not nearly as fun the next day as it used to be.
My rebound rate is terribly slow.

So despite how "regular" things look on Facebook, this is surely a more random event.  

At this stage of the game I look at the clock, whilst on my comfy couch, in front of the TV and think WOW 11pm - I'm up LATE!  Ha!

So during one of my "very late" stay ups, I caught one of the reality shows I don't normally watch, "Jersey Shore".


I'm no prude - but Oh my GOSH!  No wonder people crunch their nose up, as if they smell something foul, when you say you're from Jersey.


I am a PROUD Jersey Girl!

I am not exactly the model for good behavior all of the time, but after watching that show - I am beginning to believe that I could get away with an awful lot in other states.  I could easily have bad behavior excused simply by saying "I'm from Jersey" and probably still be told I was very well mannered (for a Jersey girl)...

I wouldn't have to pull out my "disclaimer" t-shirt!  This is pretty scary.

Mind you, we Jersey folk are a rare breed.  We WILL tell you (exactly) what we think, like it or not, and you don't even need to ask.  (You're welcome)


We Jersey folk just "get" each other.  We know what to expect.  We know where the line is drawn in the sand and we will shield each other while we hurry up to erase that line and put it out a little further.  It's all in good fun and most times the line doesn't go out all that far.

I don't know where they found these people for that show & their celebrity makes me ill.  I don't think there is any line they won't cross.  They're not even FROM Jersey!  They just "vacation" and film here.

For me to be horrified when I see these shows - something's up!


I do have to say, with a giggle & smile, that my son made an attempt to go to Seaside on a holiday weekend with his friends.  He came home early, shell shocked, lol.  I guess I've done something right!

My new plan is to visit other states & dance on tables with my "Jersey Girl" T-Shirt on.

I think as long as I don't take off my clothes in public, punch anyone, throw up & urinate in public or throw the F-Bomb around like it was my job, I'm good!

Watch out world...  Here comes the Jersey Girl!

Thank you for reading my blog!!

~Jenn

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Biological Clock... Officially smashed to bits!

The day had finally arrived...

My biological clock is finally smashed to bits.  No longer do I look to a little baby and think ooooh, just to have one of my very own.  No longer do I crave the smell of a newborn's head or the feel of a newborn in my arms.

I've officially reached the point in my life that it's fabulous for the younger folks, but I'm done!

I reached this realization in church a few weeks ago.  We have a brand new little baby in our church family.  Super cute, perfect little baby girl just cooing and smiling at everyone.  Of course I wanted to hold her.

When I did... nothing.

No heart pangs for one of my very own.  No longing.  Nothing.

...and when she started crying - I gave her back to her momma.

Nothing personal.  I love the little baby for who she is... SOMEONE ELSE'S!  I'm oh so good with that.

I totally get the baby attraction.  I mean, what's not to love about a sweet smelling, perfect, beautiful little baby?  They want nothing but love.  That's easy.

I'm older now.  Too old for babies of my own.  Mentally that is.  I've moved on to the next phase. I've finally boxed up and donated all that baby stuff that I was holding onto to prevent "the curse." Ya know.... the curse that if you get rid of all your baby stuff, you end up pregnant.  I'm secure in my inability to conceive at my older age and I'm moving forward.

I'll wait for the years to pass and for my children to get older, married & bless me with grand children.  The children that I will love and cuddle and hold and smell their sweet smell.  Spoil them rotten and then send them along to momma and poppa.

My biological clock has been officially smashed to bits, and I'm totally cool with that!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Soooo.... Your kid's getting their driver's license, huh?

Not my son
I'm, I guess, and "older mommy" on my second round of kiddies.

My girls are 11 and 7..... and my son is 20.
Yep...20.  I can't even believe it.

I've been all through the male version of terrible two's, tween's, teen's, driver's license, graduating high school and leaving home.

While the leaving home part is the most heart wrenching, it's the getting the driver's license part that scared the ever living crap out of me.

Not the best pic of me, I had the flu
Let me give you a little background.
My son and I...  We're two peas in a pod. Entirely too much alike, which may be the biggest reason we butted heads while he was growing up.  Both of us, fiercely independent, musically driven and looking to the rules as guidelines suggestions.

None of this made for easy child rearing... though it serves him well as a young adult.

Kyle's high school and teen age years were no piece of cake.  I literally had to stalk him to keep him out of trouble.  No lie.  He'll tell you, and so will his friends.  Mom would pop up in the most inconvenient places, at just the right moment.  He hated that, but I was able to keep him from getting into any REAL trouble or danger by letting him get to the end of his rope without hanging himself.  It was what I felt best at the time.  (I'd do it again!)


When it came time for driver's testing and all that goes along with it, I wasn't very excited about moving forward.  Driver's license meant a whole new area of independence.  At 17, that's not always fabulous.  Teenagers have this way of believing they're invincible, immortal.  This makes the entire driver's license thing even more terrifying, as a parent.

We paid for driving lessons.  He got his permit and then we got him his first vehicle.


Now came for the practice driving.  You must have a family member, licensed driver over the age of 18 in your vehicle while "practicing" on your permit.  Most of the time, I was the "lucky" candidate.

The drives were absolutely TERRIFYING!

We live in the mountains, in the woods.  Our roads are dark, twisty, turny, wooded roads.  The speed limit is like 50 - which is also a suggestion.
THESE are the roads I drove with my son on to "practice".

Per usual teen aged driver, he had no accelerator control. Fast, slow, brake.  I thought my head was going to pop off my neck from thrashing about so much.  When he accelerated, he accelerated. I clearly remember the words, "mailbox, mail box, mail box PHONE POLE, PHONE POLE!" spewing from my mouth as I took the death ride up Gould Road.  He of course would consistently tell me to calm down...
I was making HIM nervous.


I held onto the "Oh Shit Handle" like it was my only saving grace.  I'd have closed my eyes, but I wanted to see what was coming.

Luckily we survived.

My son got his driver's license, along with his new sense of independence.

I learned to ease up a bit and let him grow in his own way.

None of this was easy, but he's learned to become a responsible young adult.  I don't mind driving with him nearly as much as I used to.

He's grown now.  Out of the house and serving our country.

I couldn't be more proud.

So you're kid is getting their driver's license, huh??

Don't sweat it....

It's just the next step of this whole parenting gig.

It'll all be just fine.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Monday, July 15, 2013

A little something for the bigger folks, please....

While I was on the Disney cruise there was quite a bit that I noticed.

One of the things that stood out to me is the lack of accommodations available to the bigger folks.

I'm not extremely over weight.  At this writing, I am finally speaking from an 8/10 size range.  But not without a ton of diet an exercise.  I still have a few extra lbs on me that I'm working on, but I'm no longer in the "obese" category.  (I hate that term.)  However, when I was pregnant with my daughter - I was GIGANTIC.  Seriously, GIGANTIC.  I'm 5'3".  When I was pregnant with my daughter, I stopped getting on the scale at 253.  Yeah, really.  That's big for someone my size.  I also completely blew out when I was sick because I was so loaded up with steroids.  These things are both very clear in my mind because they put me in a situation where I can relate.

Maybe these issues were medically related - but I have a point.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I was itchy.  Very itchy.  All I wanted to do was take a nice hot oatmeal bath to stop itching.  I prepared the tub with the wonderful bath set my husband got for me to make our bath tub like a jacuzzi, I got all my things together and I was ready to go.  I took off my towel & went to settle in the tub and then....

I.DID.NOT.FIT.IN.THE.BATH.TUB!

Really!  My ass was so huge that I.DID.NOT.FIT.IN.THE.BATH.TUB!
Then, I reached for the towel and tried to wrap it around me.  The towel no longer wrapped around me.  I waddled out of the bathroom crying.

I did not fit in the bath tub.

I'll never forget that.

When we were on the cruise, we went to see the premier of the Lone Ranger.  I was very excited and climbed into the very comfy theater chairs.  Very comfy FOR ME.  A few rows up, a bigger lady came in and went to settle into her chair.  I watched her slowly lower herself into her chair and my mind re-wound to my bath tub experience.  My heart ached for her.  It ached even more when she went to get up and the arm of the chair broke off and she was stuck.  I can't imagine the horror she must have felt.  I was in my house for my incident - there were no outside parties seeing my plight.  I also saw another couple in the next aisle suffer the same fate, lowering themselves into the chairs.  She wasn't the "Lone Ranger" in her situation.

Why aren't there accommodations for the larger folks?  Especially on a Disney ship?  D.I.S.N.E.Y.

Before anyone starts on the whole it's their fault, they should control their eating, control their diet and my all time favorite "put down the bag of chips" Shut it!  Not everyone is blessed with the skinny gene.  Not everyone is big because they can't put down the chips and not everyone is trying to be big.  No one is TRYING to be big.  I never tried to be big.  I got pregnant & had medical issues that caused me to retain over 100 lbs of water. Water & fat weight that did not easily go away after I gave birth to a 9 lb child.  I held onto an extra 25 lbs after I gave birth and was never able to lose to get back to "my fighting weight".  When I got sick and went into the hospital, I was loaded up with steroids.  I gained 20 lbs in 6 days.  (on top of the 25 lbs I never lost)  I could NOT put on the pair of pants I came into the hospital wearing.  My weight continued to rise while on my steroid regimen and in total, I was oh so close to my pregnancy weight.

I knew I was big.  I hated it.  I couldn't get rid of it.  Often, while around some of my very skinny beautiful friends, they would make fun of the "fat mommies" & put out the "put down the bag of potato chips" statements.  (sorry, ladies - I love you, but I'm calling you out)   I'd address it - saying I was one of them, and I was killing myself trying to lose the weight.  The whole, "no, no - I don't mean you" thing never really flew.  I know my friends love me & would never hurt my feelings intentionally, but deep down - it hurt me.  I knew I had a skinny chick in there fighting to get out, but she was trapped and it wasn't inside a bag of potato chips.

YOU JUST DON'T KNOW what someones struggle is.

So Disney, I want to know....  Why are there no accommodations for the bigger folks??  You're DISNEY for God's sake!  You set the standard for so many things...  I get that Disney wants to make everyone feel the same, but some people need appropriate accommodations to feel comfortable.

A little something for the bigger folks... PLEASE!

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Friday, July 12, 2013

We love the Disney Cruise...Want some tips?

Now that I've got all my pissing and moaning blogs out of the way...

Let's talk fun.

Want my two cents.... OK - well maybe you don't and who the hell am I anyway, right?? Just some chick that likes loves to vacation...  I'm giving it to you anyway - in my very Jenn way - short, sweet and to the point.


I did the best I could do to cram a 4 night cruise into Reader's Digest version, but let's face it - you're going to have to read past the yadda, yadda, yadda if you don't wanna hear it... Especially you man folk who are reading & thinking... Holy crap, is she still speaking.  Yeah I am :)

So here's the skinny...I love cruising.
It's not for everyone, but I love it!  I love being on the boat ship in the middle of the ocean and looking out at nothing but the endless sea.
For me, this is calming.

We only do Disney.


Not for nothing, but I've seen what happens on some of those other cruise lines....  Fires, loss of power, crashing into a sand bar & the captain jumps ship...  Yeah, none of that for me thanks.

Disney is clean.  My kids are happy and I can play like a big person without any issues... It works for us.  Yes, the giant mouse and his cronies are there - but it's not like they're all up in your grill 24/7.  I like that too.

This time, we went to the Bahamas.  AGAIN.  Truthfully, I'm Bahama'ed out.  Nassau is hot an tropical, but really - you could stick Atlantis on any tropical island and it would still be fab.... Am I right???

Atlantis?  Love it... Had a total blast at their water park with the kids... and we may or may not have stopped through the casino.  Shhhh.

I'll get back to Atlantis later.

We did the 4 night cruise.  We took the short one with us and weren't sure how she'd do.  Would she be sick?  Would she be scared?  It wasn't a chance I wanted to take on the 7 night cruise... so we went to the Bahamas AGAIN.

Here are a few of my personal recommendations... And since we've done this particular run on the Disney three times, (Once on the Wonder twice on the Dream) I feel pretty comfortable...  Dare I say expert... Mmmm - let's not say expert...


If you are doing the 4 night Bahama cruise...

Pack light!  Really.  This is something I NEVER do....  I brought 8 pairs of shoes, 6 bathing suits and numerous outfits.  Not necessary.  I only wore half of what I brought... even my shoes.  I can tell you for certain, especially if you're going to fly, pack light so you can carry your luggage on board.  It's $25 bucks per bag to check 'em now.  You really will NOT wear all you bring.

Here's what you WILL need:  A couple swim suits (the 6 wasn't totally out of line).  One outfit per day.  A pirate costume (really).  Your jammies &  under garments.  One fancy dress outfit.  Sunscreen, a hat, beach bag and whatever necessities you need.  They supply shampoo, etc.  I'm a real fuss pot when it comes to shampoo & conditioner and I love what they supply!

Diet before you go... All you will do is eat.  There is food EVERYWHERE. Oooh, look - self serve soft ice cream .. don't mind if I do... every single time I pass.

Order at least one 6 pack of water to your room before you go.  Water isn't free.  Soft drinks are.  You won't want soda all the time.

Day #1 is boarding day / out to sea.  It's pretty chaotic the first day trying to figure things out.  Have a day bag with you.  Have your suit, sunscreen, etc.  Also get the early boarding!  You then have all day to enjoy the ship.  If you have early boarding, wear your suit!  You can't get to your rooms until after 1:30.  Go to Cabanna's!

We spent many meals at Cabanna's because it's buffet & a good variety. There was no bad food at Cabanna's!  I was all about the eggs benedict for breakfast every.single.morning.  It's also deck 11 / pools, etc.  Easy access.  Flo's is also a quick and easy food stop.  Cabanna's is better, in my humble opinion.

You can bring your own booze on board with you - IN YOUR CARRY ON. Do NOT check your booze - your luggage will go to luggage jail.  Your booze may be confiscated and it may take a while to get your bags.  You can pretty much bring as much booze as you want, as long as you let them know it's in there.  They don't ask.  This saved us mega bucks.  Another tip, keep your receipt for what you bring.  If you don't finish it and bring it off, you can prove to customs that you brought it with you.  It's not usually an issue, but ya never know..

The first day they will come around with the souvenir glasses.  I think they charge you $4 for the glass and $4 for the drink.  After that, they take your glass back & give you a new drink for $4.  Eventually they get tired of keeping track of the souvenir glasses and you end up with like 105 of them.  It's all good... take them to your room, wash them & use them for the booze you brought with you.  If you have a very cool stateroom host like we did, he or she will keep you well stocked with ice.

Hubby double-fisted drinking...
You will spend.  Be prepared.

  • Shopping!!  There is duty free shopping and there are fun things to buy!
  • If you drink, you will buy booze when the drink guys come around.  Even if you bring your own you'll end up buying from the drink dude.  It's just easier.
  • The kids will always want something.
  • Don't forget about the excursions.  Atlantis is awesome but $$$$.

My recommendation is to put as much on board ship credit as you can afford prior to your cruise date.  If you're a spender like me you piss money away like I do, you'll attach a credit or debit card to your account as well.

Day #2 is at Nassau, Bahamas.  The first time we cruised we did the beach day excursion.  That was a bummer for us.  We called it the money sucker excursion.  I wouldn't do that again.  The second time, because we weren't impressed with beach day, we did the Nassau Junkanoo/Forts excursion.  I have already blogged about this and you can read about that HERE if you want to.  While this was pretty interesting for the nerdy mom who likes historical stuff, my kids were bored.  Also, the drivers taking you from place to place aren't the most patient fellows....  We started our tour with about 20 on our bus, ended up with about 11... you're not there, they're not waiting.  Heads up.

A little Junkanoo... very cool history.
This year, I wanted to swim with the dolphins at Atlantis, but my kids weren't into it.  That excursion is almost $300 a person.  Something I'd really like to do in the future.  I do believe that if you swim with the dolphins, you are also able to do the water park & everything else.  We found the best deal to be the water park option at about $169 per person.  You can do almost everything on this excursion.  The beaches, the water park, pools, the aquariums, the casino, etc.  The aquariums are super cool, by the way.  Atlantis is HUGE!  There is quite a bit to do/see.  Another thing to note is that the resort is cashless bring your debit/credit card.
Yeah, this is the water park at Atlantis
Also, prepare to go to the Hospitality House right away and get a locker.  You'll need your passport to get on & off the ship.  You won't want to leave them laying around while you're frolicking in the water.  Better to be safe.

Personally, I hated the food options you get for Atlantis.  You get food vouchers - but it's mostly for burgers & fries.  YUCK.  I wanted real food.  If you're like me, bring your credit card.  Eat someplace good.  There are good places!

Day #3 Castaway Cay - Disney's private island.
LOVE IT!!  There aren't many un-populated places to park your stuff.  Take what you can get.  The entire ship empties onto the beach.  We parked ourselves near to the water slide.  The water slide isn't great for real little ones.  The water is 6' deep at the end of the slide.  You may also want to rent a float or tube... you don't need to rent one for everyone.  Everyone won't want or need them.  There are quite  a few things to do, but for us it's basically hanging out at the beach kinda day.  We usually spend a few hours & then go back onto the ship to enjoy the pools & Aqua Duck while they're less crowded.  I'm also not thrilled with the food options at Castaway Cay.  Again, it's burgers, dogs & bbq type food.  If you like it, that's great...  We ate at Cabanna's on the ship.  Did I mention that I love Cabanna's?  :)

Day #3 is also Pirate Night.... Dress like a pirate for dinner.  Arrrrrgh.  Pirate deck party & fireworks at night - Jack Sparrow and all.  It's a really fun day all around.  We clearly go all out on Pirate Night...


Day #4 is spent at sea.  The pools are packed.  If you're going to go - go early get your chair & plan to stay parked there for the day.  I was pretty pool'ed & beached out...  I didn't mind finding inside things to do.  There is A LOT to do inside.  Check your navigator.  They leave it on your bed the night before.

We watched 3 movies and saw 2 shows.  The movies are "currently in theater" movies... We saw the premier of Lone Ranger, Monsters University and Oz the Great and Powerful.  The shows are adorable & very funny.  We attended the kiddie shows, but also had the option of putting our kids into the Kids' Club.  We did this a few time so the hubby and I could have big people alone time.  (wink wink)  We had the opportunity to go to the clubs and just relax and have a little romance... What's that, right??

Day #4 is also Dress Up night for dinner.  We noticed this time around that people don't really adhere to that, but I like to dress pretty.  So we dressed nicely.

Someone say cheese cake?  :)
Right after dinner, we headed to our state room packed up.  Packing ends up being a free for all, because who wants to pack the night before.  There's still fun to be had!!  Expect to do a lot of laundry.  Remember when I said pack light??  Yeah... I washed a lot of clothes I didn't wear because clean/dirty, wet, whatever.. in the bag.

You should have your bags outside your stateroom between 8:30 and 10:30 pm.  They will get your bags off the ship for you, unless you want to lug them around at breakfast.  Trust me, let them do it.  Just remember to not pack everything... make sure you all have a change of clothes, etc for the next day.  You're welcome.

Disney is awesome getting everyone off the ship.  It's so amazingly orderly, I was shocked.  Breakfast is assigned - you leave and go right to luggage, customs & out.


**Important tip, regarding tips....**  Your bill is supposed to be under your door by 7 am.  Ours wasn't.  Well, it could have been - but our breakfast time was 6:45 am.  We didn't get our bill.  I went to guest services prior to breakfast to grab the bill, but didn't check it until I got home.
On the last day, you will find a letter in your stateroom along with envelopes for tips.  Read the letter very carefully, because it is vague...  (borderline sneaky)  On one side they casually mention that unless you sign their letter & bring it to guest services, they will charge each person in your party $12 per night gratuity.  On the reverse, they give you recommended tips for your servers, stateroom host, etc.  Trust me, it's vague.  I don't usually miss much when it comes to the finances and this blew right by me.
We are good tippers - so we had cash tips prepared for everyone in advance & tipped others as we went along.  For this reason, I was excessively pissed off when I looked at the bill & saw almost $200 in gratuities charged to my card, when I'd already paid the tips in cash.  This is something that slides right by ... Don't say I didn't warn you!

That was my only true negative.  Well, that and no coffee maker in my room - but we know that I have coffee issues.  :)

As I'd said -- the ship, super clean.  There is someone inside every rest room, all day - cleaning constantly.  Cleaning hand rails, door knobs, sinks.  It's clean.  That is key for me because the short one touches everything.

My favorite restaurants... Cabanna's for breakfast & lunch.  Flo's is always open for an occasional sandwich, pizza or burger.  (The Tomato, Bacon & Brie pannini... YUM!)  My favorite restaurant was the Enchanted Garden.  Animator's Palate is cool IF you are seated near a screen.  If you're in the middle you don't get the full experience.  Royal Palace is good, but I don't care for French cuisine. The desserts were to die for!

I didn't hit the spa this time, but the cabana massages on the beach at Castaway Cay were fabulous!

My kids L.O.V.E.D. Kids' Club!  Always something fun for them.  All kids... Babies, toddlers, tweens & teens.  It's very secure, very clean & the kids don't want to leave!  Go be a big person!  Quick before they change their minds :)

Hmmm...  I think that about covers it.

Th, th, th, th That's All Folks!  (whoops, wrong company)

If you are considering this cruise and have questions that I didn't cover or would like more of my amazing and wonderful advice on this cruise, please feel free to email me.

Our next cruise will be Grand Cayman....  Woot...  Momma needs more time at sea and a change of scenery.

I hope I didn't bore you with all of this... I could go on forever, but how about I leave it here?  M'Kay??

Thank you for reading my blog!

Love you to bits & pieces!!

~Jenn

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Gonna Party... It's NOT my Birthday....

Is there any doubt at all that a picture like this can only be brought about by the plotting and planning of diabolical husbands??

Of course there's no doubt!

While we were on vacation we were able to meet up with our friends Carrie, from Carrie's Experimental Kitchen, her hubby Don and their kids.

They were going to be at Animal Kingdom Park.  We were going to be at Animal Kingdom Lodge - so OF COURSE, the only thing that made sense was that we meet up and go play!  Yayyyy!!  Love them!!

Finding a dinner spot was a feat, so we decided to head over to Downtown Disney to see what we could come up with.  After putting our names on several 2 hour waiting lists, we came upon Paradiso.  A bar/restaurant with really good Spanish food and obviously... Margaritas.


Our crowd, without the help of adult beverages, is pretty unique....  One bouncy 6 year old, 2 silly / goofy pre-teens, a teenager trying to pretend she doesn't know any of us... and the four of us goofy adults laughing like escaped mental patients.  Yeah...  It's like that.

We ordered food, and drinks.  Mr. Cuervo???  He's a sneaky little bugger. He strolls in disguised as a chick named Margarita and the next thing ya know, I'm all smiles making friends with strangers, trying to get a little girl to share her bubble gun with me (she was going to, ya know).  The next thing I know... my 75th drink is empty...  What the heck???


So my ever loving and wonderful hubby orders me a new drink.  I see whispering among the men and the waitress - meh, I don't care.  I want the bubble gun.  Oooh pretty, pretty bubbles...

Next thing I know - this giant Margarita is in front of me....  served up with the challenge - YOU MUST FINISH.   Pfffft... Don't you people know who you're dealing with??  Margarita & Jose - they're my friends.  My buddies.  My PALS...

Challenge accepted.

I began my drink journey, (picture above snapped) laughing, watching bubbles, being all "Jenn" and I hear singing....

Admit it, you want one...

Not mine
Ooooooh.... it's someone's birthday!!!

Yayyyy!!

So I'm singing.  I'm clapping.  I'm dancing.  Happy Birthday To you.. Happy Birrrrthdayyyyyyyy

...And the cake plops in front of me.

Huh??

It's not my birthday....

You guysssssssssssss.....

Can you not see it in their eyes???  D.I.A.B.O.L.I.C.A.L.!  :)
Let this be a rule to you, friends...
When your hubby & your friend's hubby are both diabolical AND they get along this famously, NEVER, EVER, EVER trust them to whisper anything to anyone.

Or this could be you!

Happy Unbirthday to ME!

....shortly there after almost $100 was spent at the Candy Caldron.

Margarita, Jose - my children thank you.
(Don, I owe you!)

Thank you ever so much for reading my blog!

~Jenn



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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Amazing Adventures of Jenn-eye..... (you should see the otha guy)

Hey... How YOU doin?

Pretty, huh??

Oh, the otha guy??  Hmmmmm....

Yeah, it's like this...
the otha guy?

"He" still can't move.

Yeah, that's right... I'm from Clifton.  I'm tough!  One round with me and "he's" still just standing there.  Suspended in time.  Can't move.

Enter Jenn-eye.

I was just sitting there, minding my own business.  My girls doing their thing.  First drink in hand, not even a sip had.

Short one, in Mickey pool.  Bigger one on the Aqua Duck.  Hubby by my side and nice comfy deck chair under my butt.  I set my lovely margarita down and go to scoot up my deck chair to get a better view of my kids and....

BAM!
No, it wasn't Mickey who hit me... the "guy" behind him

Deck railing to the face.  Yeah, can you believe it?   Pfft....

Oh, why didn't I see the GIANT deck railing directly in front of me??  Have ya met me?  I am lucky I can walk across the room without tripping over my own two feet... so deck railing in front of my face ... what's to see??

All I remember is BAM... Grabbing my face and falling back.  Apparently I yelled, really loudly - because I heard my husband saying, "Are you alright?  Are you OK?  You're making a scene."
In my brain, I'm saying -- did I break my cheek bone?  Should I go to the medic?  Shit, did he just kick over my drink?  He kicked over my drink. Wow, this hurts like hell.  I'm making a scene?  I don't friggin' care... Finally I sat up & the drink dude came over with a 2 for 1....  My husband bought and gave me both drinks (I needed them) and then ran to get me ice.


I scared the crap out of both of us....

Do we laugh about this every single second?  Yes....
Is this a total shock to my husband?  Um, no...
Frankly, I think he's surprised this doesn't happen every single day.
So we just laugh.  Even though it really hurts to laugh.  Or smile.  Or talk...

Meh, whatever....

So the otha guy that can't move?  Deck railing.

Score 1 point deck railing...

For me....  A souvenir from the Disney Cruise... Jenn-eye.

Isn't it pretty?

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm not that girl....

Hey all...
I know, holy crap - she's got something to say.

Amazing what a little R&R can do for you.

So recently I've been away.  A well needed vacation gave me an opportunity to relax, decompress and make friends with my husband again.

No, no - no issues.  All's well.  It's just that the whole daily grind definitely makes you forget, sometimes, how much you really love your partner and why.  It was nice to have "us" time, which was very possible thanks to the Kid's Club on the ship.

Recently while we were out, I was having a conversation with a woman I'd never met before.  She was this tall, skinny long legged, long haired blonde - very "Barbie-esque".

I don't judge.  I think I've established that many times here - so when I get judge, it sort of freaks me out.  Especially since what this other person said to me really shocked me on so many levels - because I'm not that girl!


While I was chatting with this woman, she began talking down about herself.  I didn't get it and told her, "I don't know what you see when you look in the mirror - but you're a stunning woman."  I was nice about it.  She smiled and was very accepting of the compliment.  My inner freak was tucked in tightly.  I was being nice and felt badly that she was so down on herself, especially in such a fun setting.

I'm not one of those people who will blow smoke up someone's butt and over compliment just so they like me.  Trust me, I've reached the point in my life that I don't give a crap.  I say what I mean and mean what I say, or I say nothing.  My days of  'over trying' are D.O.N.E. for me.  I am me.  The end.  Love me as I am or not at all.

She lightened up on herself, smiled and continuing chatting on.  We were by the pool area - and someone said something about going into the pool.  All I said is that I wasn't going in.  I was pooled out.  It was hot, yes - but I was done.  No more pool.

In a not so nice or complimentary way, I received, "Of COURSE you don't want to go into the pool.  You'd mess up your perfect hair and perfect nails."

WHAT???  Me??  Really??

Did she just say that TO and ABOUT... Me???

I'm NOT that girl.

I've never been the little stuck up, conceited everything perfect kind of "girl."

I am the overly friendly freak who bounces around and smiles happily like a squirrel on crack.  I'm not the ewwww, she's speaking to me kind of person EVER, to anyone!  How insulting!

I get my hair cut in a way that when I get out of the shower, I can shake my head like a wet dog, blow dry just to make it dry and move on.  If I'm going OUT, I put product in it so I don't have to deal with it for the rest of the day / night.  I don't want to fuss.


Yeah, I get manicures & pedicures - but that also doesn't make me a "little miss perfect".

It's something I do for me to relax and unwind when I can.  I work.  I have kids.  I take care of my house, my kids, my husband, my dog.  I do NOT have or portray the little miss perfect self image.  What the heck??  I don't see perfection when I look in the mirror.  I see all my flaws and the things that maybe no one else sees - but the things that freak me out on the inside and I want to change.

...and I'm friendly!  Overly friendly mostly, because that's who I am.


I know I don't know that woman, and never will - but that hurt my heart to be judged - in a fairly negative way because I looked a certain way in her eyes.

Me??  Not wanting to ruin my perfect hair?

I'm really not used to that.

Oh, and let's also mention that I'm sporting a huge shiner on my right eye (to follow in another blog).  So, little miss perfect?  (no caps for a reason)  Not me!

In another setting, I may have gotten my hackles up and given it to her with both barrels... but being out of my element - I tucked it in and walked away.  Clearly SHE is the one with issues.

It's amazing how judgement can stretch in so many directions.

I'm told that on some level, I should feel complimented - but I don't.  It's all in the delivery.  I was meant to feel insulted, and that sort of sucks.

I can handle anyone's inner freak.  My inner freak doesn't usually stay contained.  What I can't handle is intentional meanness.

So....someone who doesn't want to mess up her perfect hair and nails??

Yeah, that's not me.

I'm not that girl, nor do I want to be...
Before you point fingers, look out for the ones coming your way.

Because YOU may be that girl.

Thank you for reading my blog!

~Jenn

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