Spring Break: what a difference 10 years makes--Part 3 (1990-2010)

 The "possibility" of meeting family/friends and the "reality" of making it happen
 Participating in my brother's wedding was the catalyst for a 3-week road trip.  Arrangements for this gathering took place a year in advance.
Past Several months before hitting the road to San Diego, we also contacted dear college friends and asked if we could visit them in Las Vegas while passing through. After several phone calls, the date was set and specific directions were given to their home. We got lost, AGAIN!

Present  The FIRST day of our trip, while on a remote highway, I accessed my FACEBOOK account and left a message for two Arizona friends.  Minutes later, I read my "in-box" messages on FB and began to make arrangements to meet. While waiting in line at Disneyland and Universal Studios, I logged-in again and like "magic" we secured the plans--when, where, how to meet in Arizon! Using our handy, dandy GPS, we NEVER got lost.

Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.  ~From the television show The Wonder Years

Look forward to a post in 
2020 listing the travel changes--

"Portable self-contained Urinals "
Imagine the Possibilities

Spring Break: what a difference ten years makes--Part 2 (1990-2010)

Part 2---As families prepare to load up their mini-vans, suitcases, and stash of cash, memories of past vacations come to mind. This is the second of three posts reflecting on how technological advancements have changed how we prepare, plan, and participate in family outings.

Past-- We thought we had invented the genius idea of putting our cell phone number in our third son's fanny pack in case he got lost. During the 1 1/2 hours he WAS LOST, he never even thought to TALK TO A STRANGER and share our cell phone number. Because we only had one cell phone, we relied on WALKIE TALKIES to stick together. The problem was, so did every other of the 10,000 visitors to the park. Access to an open band was impossible. (we got lost MANY MANY MANY times)

Present-- A much more creative approach to preventing child endangerment (besides a parent's approach to discipline) is BLACK PERMANENT MARKER. A SPRINT texting plan and 4 phones worked wonders at preventing the inevitable separation that takes place with 6 people on different entertainment agendas trying to maneuver the park to see ALL attractions and get your $300 a day worth of FUN!

5. Creative ways to pack food and supplies to carry into the park so we could still pay our mortgage AFTER our vacation
Past As mom's of multiple children know, a stroller can pack a load of crap for any outing. Diapers, wipes, bottles, diaper creme, blanket, extra clothing, video camera, camera, sunscreen, sunglasses, water bottles, cooler, mini fridge, portable TV, rope, legal drugs, camel back filled with diet coke, etc...That is how we survived the theme parks with these 3 boys.  
Present One VERY HEAVY pack carried by mom carried all the supplies we needed. Boost, water bottles, medicine, cell phones, camera, video camera, passes to the parks, etc. 

6.  Using the internet to secure lodging and entertainment
Past--A six to nine month reservation was required 10 years ago and yellow pages and AAA were a reputable source to gather information, although extremely time-consuming.
Present--Sites such as PRICELINE work like magic for finding an affordable and available hotel the day BEFORE needed and one can find a Walmart for food and supplies anywhere in the USA---except Orange and Los Angeles, County. 

 A balcony breakfast from a luxurious resort overlooking a golf course was our BEST FIND!  Somehow, Dolly Madison donuts from Smiths, felt dummy downed for the occasion!

Spring Break: what a difference ten years make--1990-2010

As families prepare to load up their mini-vans, suitcases, and stash of cash, memories of past vacations come to mind. What a difference ten years makes. This week, my posts will reflect on how technological advancements have changed how we prepare, plan, and participate in family outings.

1. Technology and the Internet
Past--We had to tote a small suitcase to transport maps and books from AAA in order to plan the trip; (still got lost MANY MANY MANY TIMES with emotional meltdowns in between) 5 pieces of paper contained typed important information as well as a calendar. The paper carried remnants of Mcdonald's ketchup at the end of the trip. We filed it away in a scrapbook as he drew a pretty great drawing of a cat. 4 months in advance, we began negotiation to secure the "right" price for accomodations and recreation.

Present--I carried an I-POD Touch that fit in the palm of my hand. Phone numbers, addresses, email, calendar, Wi-Fi access to helpful information--all at the touch of a finger. Activities to keep the kids entertained while waiting in line motivated me to ALWAYS have full battery power. (I would've stored virtual gum in there if I could!) We named our price on Priceline the day before we needed a hotel and arrived at our destination safely by listening intently to our friendly Garmin GPS with the sexy voice. (never got lost)
Itinerary--Day 1 and 2: Mini-van loaded with "entertainment" accessories kept everyone sane during the 2-day trip to NewPort Beach, CA. We booked our first night sleep in Albuerque at a Starbucks (free WI FI) 200 miles out of town. We were led their by our GPS to the hotel.
Using Expedia 3 days before we left, we committed to a CHEAP 3-day stay in Newport Beach 15 minutes from Disney and 5 minutes from the beach!!! Using the free WI FI in the hotel, we printed off 3-day passes to Disneyland and Universal Studios for 6 people. (we then transferred cash to make sure our account did not crash!) If looking for a place to stay, check out Disney Vacation Rentals 

The "UNABOMBER" decided to join us on our vacation and appears in many pictures. The "disguise" provided needed protection from the harming sun's rays. Strong acne medication makes your skin vulnerable to damage.
2. Keeping everyone PLUGGED up or PLUGGED in
Past- A pacifer, fruit snacks, lollipops, gum, jolly ranchers, duct tape, etc. was used throughout this trip to keep the young from screaming. As persistent young parents, we encouraged many educational activities during the long road-trip such as reading, puzzle solving, math facts. ONLY a 1/2 hour into the trip, the fighting began. A western Wyoming Walmart was a welcome site as we dumped the old uncomfortable car seat and "installed" a new one to keep the prince happy. We would've paid anything to make him stop screaming. BEST IMPULSE purchase ever was the stand-alone DVD player. It may have sucked the brains out of the kids, but it kept them ALIVE!
Present-- With the purchase of our 2007 Honda Odyssey mini-van (a Carmax success story) keeping all 4 kids PLUGGED in was easy. (we never worry about sucking their brains out anymore, just our own SANITY) The only daughter could listen to Disney show tunes with the wireless headphones while the teenagers could listen and watch Harry Potter movies on the DVD and rock out to Green Day. The splitter allowed all 4 kids to listen to the DVD movie hanging from the wall while the driver peacefully made his/her music selection.

3. An independent fashion consultant
Past Wherever we traveled, Mom chose the wardrobe. Making sure all boys were matching was not only a fashion statement, but a safety factor. Traveling through all the parks with 3 boys made us crave caffeine and high doses of anxiety meds. These matching GAP shark shirts (found a deal) were tugged on many times, dragging the disobedient into the safety of the "gam."

Present-- Lists of clothing items to take and the number of pairs of underwear and socks were given to each boy in hopes that the chosen wardrobe would make it into the suitcase. A close observation in the photos taken, one will notice the SAME shirt, pants, etc on the teens each day. (Of course, my girl was dressed by Mom and willingly took suggestions of color choices). During a long line at Disney, I observed my youngest boy wearing a pair of shorts that DID NOT even ZIP up. They were two sizes too small. An experienced Mom just made him pull his t-shirt down.

$200,000 x 4=YOU do the math! Raising kids is worth every penny?

One aged Kawause Piano + elementary aged student + Dad's money + Mom's patience + faithful teachers=priceless memories!                                           Each of our four children began studying this beautiful instrument while in elementary school. Although they are not Chopin or Beethoven, they are all able to produce a pleasing sound and their lessons were a catalyst for their interest in band instruments. If I counted up the money, time, and my brain synapses lost, it would equal the amounts given in this article. However, the costs of NOT pursuing these can not be measured. 

Helping young children learn, progress, and master basic piano skills requires much parental commitment, support, and forgiveness--of your child and you. However, the results are worth the effort as seen in this video clip of my children through 19 years of music lessons and concerts!

1.  Teaches children that they CAN do hard things
2.  Provides positive, uplifting, and safe extracurricular activities through elementary, middle and high school years
3.  Creates mentors with music teachers who in turn inspire and help build student's character 
4.  Builds everlasting bonds between parent and child through music 
5.  Music motivates students' to perform well in academics and other classes


If YOU choose to "weave" a tapestry of music producers in your family, be prepared to:

1.  Put yourself in Time-Out
2.  Learn new phrases such as "chunk it", "V fingers", and root chords
3.  Give up the latest trends in fashion for yourself
4.  Drive used cars for the rest of your existence on this planet
5.  Experience the plethora of sights, sounds, smells of a billion "band" concerts

Because our youngest is only 8, the "billions" of band concerts we get to attend will certainly rise, my fashion wardrobe will consist of styles from the '90's, and my "time-out" chair will need to be replaced with a "time-out" wheelchair!

But we will prosper..................

Toddlers teaching teens a lesson: LISTEN TO YOUR DAD!!!!!

Although it has been nearly four years since I had a toddler in the home, I'm convinced that if teens handled obstacles like toddlers, they would avoid a lot of pain and suffering. After viewing this video, reflect on the following principles of problem solving with your teen:

1.  When challenges arise, tackle them with enthusiasm, quickness, and determination.

2.  Despite your best efforts, detours will need to be taken and plans altered.

3.  Thinking you have all the answers is a dangerous mind-set.

4.  Relying on the advice of "Dad" or other trusted adults is vital to your safety and completion of a task.

Now go and enjoy your "Season" with your teen and toddlers!!!!

Rubbermaid MUST be on the holiday decor list!

After spending an untold amount of money on Rubbermaid storage boxes and surviving hours spent looking for carefully crafted Christmas decor, lights, and extension cords long enough, but not too long, I have finally arrived at "my" tracking system! (It only took me 25 years!)

With this system, I can put up my decorations in one day (with the help of the children and hubby)! 

Homemade Nativity using Crayola's Model Magic

Amazon.com sells this!
My google experience generally does not include browsing for craft projects to endure and create. My PINTEREST "craft" board is nearly empty, however, I do search for "kid-friendly" holiday crafts.
When I happened upon this "crafting" product, I was hooked.   

Made by the trusted brand, Crayola, the clay-like substance is not only moldable for small fingers, but it is very lightweight for displaying, storing, and shipping. Young and old creative personalities enjoy working with and making something out of this affordable product. The clay dries quickly and can be brought to life with a little craft paint color or simply displayed in its natural form which comes in all primary colors. 

And if it does not turn out how one envisioned...........

Halloween "Themed" Costumes

Parents work diligently to build strong sibling relationships while their children are in the home with the hopes of those bonds continuing into adulthood. With only 5 years in which to create a "complete" family bond, we were vigilant (sometimes obsessed) in providing circumstances to connect. Thus, Halloween family "themed" costumes began in our youngest's 1st year. One of our favorite family movies---Napoleon Dynamite--started us off. 

God Made Us To Do Hard Things

With the assistance of my Momma, a milestone that I have intensely feared most of my adult life was reached this week. Even though the agency of my father was breached, it was for his own protection.

As I sat across the table, for the first time, looking into the eyes of Dad's beloved financial planner whom he has respected and revered for many years, the weight of this meeting hit me. Tear-filled eyes brought me to my feet and I asked to be excused so I could collect myself. 

Was THIS day really here?
With power of attorney in hand, I was prepared to speak on behalf of my father.

Financial affairs of my parents have always been handled by my Dad. Although not always in agreement with the handling of his assets, it was his free will and choice.

This meeting felt like I was taking his agency away, but for his own good and with his wife's approval.

Then a visual came into my head of my Dad in 1993. We lived in Milwaukee and my Dad and dog Muffy showed up unannounced on our apartment doorstep from Kansas!!! The walk to the park with 2-year-old Brandon being dragged by a very frisky and excited Lhasa apso would not leave my head ALL day!

Dad's quick pace and quick wit and the dogs short, quick legs kept us moving forward!! Despite the frigid Wisconsin January breeze, the 4 of us kept on freely running to our destination.

Even though THIS day Dad was not quickly running, nor freely choosing, moving forward to a destination was just as necessary.

So I dried my eyes, turned around, and walked quickly to face the next milestone in my life. Even though my Dad nor a dog were present to keep me moving forward, my free choice was.

Raising my Aging Parents!

My Dad is sick.

Very, very sick.

He spent 4 days in the hospital because of a bladder infection that needed IV antibiotics. He was also dehydrated. Since the holidays, he has fallen 5 times and needed assistance getting up.

He will only eat liquid sustenance, barely!!

He barely communicates!!

My wonderful, faithful, loving and kind mother has done her best to assist him in his daily needs and tries so hard to boost his spirits. She hardly ever leaves him alone.

He is weak, only gets up to have a bowel movement and spends the rest of the day in bed.

YES--we are being proactive with physician care, treatment, medicines and testing to determine possible causes!

He has lost 40 pounds since back surgery in April and a repeat surgery in July. He has not been very mobile.

But saddest of all: he is NOT my Dad who loves:

--to hear how old friends are doing
--to go to the SPA and listen and meet new people
--to watch BYU football or other sports on TV
--to attend his grandchildren's school and sporting events when available
--to spend time with his family and listen to his 4 daughter's talk about "chic" stuff
--to catch up with his only son concerning all things sports
--to talk and share stories with anyone who will listen
--to eat shrimp with his buddies
--to eat raspberry chocolate shakes from Red Robin or a McDonalds ice cream cone
--to play and cheat at card games
--to drive a truck that delivers food to needy people in rural communities
--to help stock shelves at our church's food warehouse
--to serve other people
--to play and take care of babies, children and his grandchildren
--to eat any leftover hospital food that the patient did not consume (Tonight, I ate my DAD's hospital leftovers)
--to be my DAD!

Today, after he only consumed four bites of chicken noodle soup and had two small bites of ice cream, he laid back in the hospital bed.

I loudly scolded him (oh, forgot to mention, he can barely hear) to be a BIG MAN and eat some more chicken noodle soup.

He did not say a word. Just silently smiled and laid his head on the pillow.

A few moments later, he arose, sat at the edge of the bed, and began to take a few more bites.

I most likely will never know if he did this because of my loud plee for him to eat or if he saw my tear-stained face and blood-shot eyes!!

He is still my Dad and I am happy to help him with his daily needs as he has always been there for me
and my family.

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