Dear Frozen Yogurt Bar Staff, Have I got a tip for you.

Ok…so last week I took the kids to this new frozen yogurt place down the street. When I walked in, I was immediately put off by the whole “Ikea Does Preschool” design. The mere idea of slurping frozen yogurt off a 10 inch high table, with my boobs resting awkwardly on my knees, created a kind of pre-digestion indigestion that I hadn’t known was possible.  But the kids loved it, so whatever.

yogurtseats

We walked up to the high schooler behind the counter.

Me: “Hi. I’d like 3 small frozen yogurts. What flavors do you have?”

Him, seeming confused by my question: “All of our yogurt machines are on that wall over there. (points to 16 machines) We’re a self-serve yogurt bar, it’s what makes us unique!”

Nooo, it’s what makes you lazy. But tomato/tomaahto.

I then spent, what seemed like hours, assisting my children in building their idea of the most perfect frozen yogurt combination ever. Flavors were mixed with a 2:2:1 ratio, paper dividers (yes, paper dividers) were inserted into the bowls to isolate any contrasting, yet complementary, selections, and swirl dispensing techniques were compared, analyzed, and critiqued until the winner was the one not crying. I won’t lie, it was torturous. Yet, somehow, it paled to the angst created by the toppings bar.

To an adult, the toppings bar was a plethora of choices that could be easily whittled down by years of tasting experience. But to a child? To a child, those 50 containers laid before them like a vast new land waiting to be explored and plundered. And with no one standing behind the counter to push them along, my kids grabbed their spoons and ever. so. slowly. hovered above each and every topping for consideration. Honestly, I’ve given major life decisions less thought.

yogurtbar

When I assumed we were finally ready to pay, the teenager, now texting behind the counter, reminded us that we had yet to choose our “wet” toppings.

Our what toppings?

“Wet toppings: caramel, fudge, chocolate sauce, strawberry sauce, marshmallow sauce, peanut butter sauce, butterscotch, honey, whipped cream, and magic shell. Choose as many as you want! Any combination!”

He obviously thought giving my children more choices would excite me. Bastard.

Once the wet toppings were poured over my kids and their sundaes, I attempted to hand him the mess for payment.

“No no no (waving me away). You’re supposed to go over there and place them on the scale, then you pay based on the weight. Oh, and don’t forget to grab yourself some spoons and napkins, looks like you’ll need them. hahaha.”

And so I did. And then I paid. And then I saw this…

yogurttip

WHAAAT??? A TIP JAR?!!

So let me get this straight,

We put the frozen yogurt into our cups

We piled on both the ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ toppings

We grabbed our spoons and napkins

We put the sundaes on the scale

and We paid

Now you want a tip? For WHAT, taking my money?

Dear Frozen Yogurt Employee,

 How about you earn a tip by doing something that I’d actually tip on. Something that makes my life better. Maybe wax my bikini area?  Or clean the dog piss off my carpet? Take our car through vehicle inspection? Bikini waxing, part 2 (it usually takes more than one session)? Or,hey, I got it… here’s a real novel idea, what about MAKING ME A GODDAMN FROZEN YOGURT SUNDAE!?!?!

No, all you did was take my money, and that only made my life worse. Why would I tip you for that?

Stick that in your empty bucket.

*And I totally would have written that note too, if it didn’t require me jumping behind the counter to find my own pen.

yogurteffort

Our 2014 Christmas Letter: a year in crappy pics

Dear Friends & Family,

2014 was a year of accomplishments for our family, beginning on January 1st, when we woke up without headaches, nausea, or pastry induced sugar comas. Honestly, we owned 2014 right then and there.

In January, I finally got around to ordering our 2013 Christmas cards (note: both 2013 & 2014 enclosed- feel free to display the one that best matches your home decor). We also completed the basement wainscoting project and put the finishing touches on Ana’s under-the-stairs playhouse, which she then refused to play in because “I’m not going under the stairs!”

playhouse 2

February plunged us into a very cold and a very dark Polar Vortex. I entered a winter depression, marked by an obsession with Florida real estate and an excessive consumption of simple carbs. Meanwhile, Collin stayed in the basement playing Xbox, Brian frequented any and all restaurants advertising pork belly, and Ana played with her toys…but not the ones in the playhouse.

March saw the birth of my Spicy Jalapeno Margarita! When we weren’t going to Oasis Family Fun Center or watching Brian eat pork belly, I was at home using the freshest ingredients to create the perfect drink to welcome Spring. Nailed it!

In April, Brian won a work incentive trip for two to Mexico! So we hopped a plane to Punta Mita where we soaked up the sun, drank margaritas, and ate fish tacos and nachos until the elastic in our bathing suits threatened to rip. Ahhh! It was a much needed and super relaxing trip…except for the part where we accidentally walked onto a private beach and were chased by security guards protecting the Mexican Secretary of State who was responsible for the recent capture of “El Chapo”, the kingpin of the Mexican Drug Cartel. But in our defense, the “No Entrar” sign was really tiny.

wcp258

It became apparent in May, that our 12 year old dog, Mr. Bojangles, had become almost completely deaf. I was sad at first, but now that the doorbell no longer elicits a Cujo response from him, I find that my fight-or-flight response towards guests is dissipating.

We checked two things off our bucket list in June- we took our first cruise to Bermuda! It was awesome! Bermuda was stunning, the Norwegian Breakaway was gorgeous, and miraculously no one went overboard.

bermuda

In July, I once again hosted another week of Camp Cheapo. 12 neighborhood kids, 25 cans of shaving cream, 2 slip-n-slides, 15 Frisbees, lots of bad choices, and very little supervision. It was another cheapo success!

camp cheapo 2014

Collin started tackle football in August, which totally freaked me out. However, when I saw how substantial the protective gear was, I relaxed a bit. Then I saw the 6 days per week practice schedule and tensed back up.

In September, Collin started 5th grade with his favorite teacher, and Ana excitedly entered Kindergarten! Although she loved school, the first couple weeks were rough for Ana. She was tired in the mornings and had zero interest in getting dressed, brushing her hair, putting on her shoes, etc. No surprise, this led to her missing the bus quite a bit. I tried rewards, threats, bribes, pleads, and just as I was about to home school her, I came up with an idea – completely dressing her the night before. And it worked! Just today, I successfully rolled her from bed to bus stop!

Also in September, Ana and I completed our first and last 5K together!

photo 4 (3)

 

Technically, she only completed one mile because I carried her the other two. Later that afternoon, while icing my arms, I received the race stats via email letting me know that I placed last in my age group. And because I was carrying her in front of me, Ana beat my time.

October was Collin’s birthday month and a trip to Disney World with Brian’s family! It’s our favorite time of year in Disney –  Halloween and Epcot’s Wine & Food Festival! Talk about gluttony!

disney

The Polar Vortex returned in November, sending us back into hibernation mode. So while everyone else was updating their Facebook status with “Our family just completed another 5K today. Woohoo!”, we were busy running our own race- to Costco, the bakery, the liquor store, and back – all before Mr. Bojangles could pee on the floor. And Ana made some interesting new fashion choices. She now wears her knee socks over her pants and has adopted the motto “The more contrast, the better.”

ana socks1

Things going on this month (December)

Brian – One word, CUPCAKES. He will not rest until he’s found the world’s most perfect cupcake. I believe he’s even created a mission statement to that effect.

Collin – Says he would like either a desktop computer for Christmas or a pack of gum. Hopefully Santa will bring him better negotiating skills.

Ana – LOVES her Elf on the Shelf and she’s grateful he didn’t arrive on the scene until after she hit that boy on the bus.

Mr. Bojangles – Deaf, incontinent, but will still sell his soul for a cookie.

Buddy – Our 3-legged adopted dog, thinks the sun rises and sets on me, and merely tolerates everyone else.

Roxy – The cat continues to mark her territory under our pool table. She may have a larger territory this Spring.

Blaze – The hamster Collin just HAD to have still does nothing but sleep all day. Why did anyone think a nocturnal animal would make a decent pet for a kid that goes to bed at 9 pm?

Me – It’s taking everything I have to get our Christmas cards out more than 48 hours before Christmas. Nailing it!

 

As this year is coming to a close, we want to say thank you for a being a part of our lives, whether near or far, yesterday or yesteryear, you are always in our hearts. May your 2015 be filled with an abundance of love, laughter, health, and happiness.

 

Love,

Brian, Kim, Collin, & Ana

 

_________________

 

Looking for an awesome stocking stuffer, a gift for your bunko hostess, or yourself? Check this out this hilarious book that sets the ridiculousness of suburban life to haiku!

Suburban Haiku: Poetic Dispatches from Behind the Picket Fence  by Peyton Price

Weekend in Crappy Pics (Disney World – Part 4)

The Weekend in Crappy Pics - Disney 2014, family vacation is not always a fairy tale.

Ok, so I HAVE to do this Disney vacation wrap-up. No, really, because this blog is the only record my family will ever have of this trip…or of anything we ever do. How screwed up is that?

In 20 years:

Collin’s kids: Dad, where are all the pictures from when you were little?

Collin: Well, let me just pull up your grandmother’s blog…

Maybe I should create scrapbooks, you know, like a normal mother? Or maybe stop sewing felt vaginas?

But I digress…

Day 5 – Epcot

All you need to know about Epcot is that their World Showcase is not real. I mean, I know it’s not real real, but as it turns out, the products they sell ARE NOT EVEN FROM THE COUNTRY YOU’RE IN!

For example, the kids loved playing with the instruments displayed in Africa, so I thought to myself, “Candy Ass, you should buy the darlings a tambourine so you’ll have something valuable to take away when they start acting up.” (TIP: Always be prepared to deprive them, otherwise, they hold the upper hand.) 

epcot2

So I picked up the African tambourine and…

photo 3 (14)

HECHO EN MEXICO?

HECHO EN MEXICO?  

So let me get this straight, we visit Africa, in America, to buy a tambourine made in Mexico? UGGGHH. I wanted nothing more than to push that Mexican musical cart right through boring Norway and into the base of the Mayan temple!  …and then buy another margarita, seeing as I was back in Mexico. But I didn’t, so it was on to Japan…

epcot1

 Yup- Japan gifts, made in China.

Oh well, at least I knew the shit in China would be real. And it’s not like you can find “Made in China” products just anywhere, so there’s that.

 

Day 6 – Disney Quest

Ah, Disney “The 5 story video game place that we get into for free with our park tickets and our kids would have been happier just to stay here all 6 days” Quest.

Because our family is extremely competitive and hates to lose, we spent most of our time playing in KidQuest, the gaming zone designed for children ages 2-7.

Here’s Brian kicking a tiny game’s ass as a group of preschoolers form around him, some in awe, others crying, one offers to buy the next round of juice boxes:

photo 4 (8)

Sure, setting the high score in the kiddie area might be a boost to our self esteem, but it’s entering the winning initials “A.S.S.” that we truly live for.

 

After Leaving Disney Quest, we walked over to the Lego store…

disneyquest1

where Ana played until the kid in the black jacket sneezed into the Lego bowl then fished around for his cough drop.

 

After generously coating everyone with hand sanitizer, we headed to a nearby Irish restaurant for dinner.

Much to our delight, they had dance performers throughout the meal and, at one point, they invited children to come up.

Here’s Ana performing:

Disney Quest2

I had two chocolate martinis made with Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Martini #1 – “Look at her, she’s a natural!”

Martini #2 – “You know, I’m signing her up for Irish dance lessons the moment we get home because she really seems to enjoy it, you know? I bet she could get a scholarship, you know?”

Day 7 – Heading Home

During our trip, the stroller we’ve had since Collin was a baby, broke. I wanted to cry.

I know it sounds stupid, but I felt horrible knowing I’d have to leave it behind. This wonderful apparatus, this, this, godsend, this beautiful stroller, it restrained my children for many years, allowing me to do some really special things, things like peeing in public stalls, trying on clothes in handicap dressing rooms, and walking through various mall parking lots wondering where the hell my car was.

So it was with tremendous grief that I carried the stroller into the rental unit’s garage and, amid the screams of “MOM WHERE ARE YOUUUU?”, said my final goodbyes.

photo 2 (15)

 

And then I put it down.

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If I’m honest with myself, Stroller had been struggling for years. It really was the most humane thing to do.

Farewell, good friend, farewell.

 

The Airport

Apparently, airport security does this new thing where they ask your kid who you are to them, and you have to stand there with your mouth shut hoping they’ll say “My mom” and not “She must be my kidnapper because my real mother would have bought me that Mickey Mouse pin from the gift shop”.

But either way, this security measure is truly unfortunate for us, as Ana tends to clam up when put on the spot.

After she met his third request of “Who is this lady?” with yet another shrug and blank stare, I began to panic. My mouth smiled at her like ‘aren’t you being super silly’ but my eyes, my eyes screamed, ‘SAY MOTHER! SAAAY MOOOTHERRR! SAY IT!’ In that moment, I realized that there’s a fine line between trying to get your kid to claim you and looking like a child trafficker coercing your abductee to lie, and I was walking it.

Finally, “She’s my mom?”

A question? She phrases it in the form of a question?!?! Oh, Jesus, I’m going to the big house.

I guess sick of us wasting his time, the security officer decided that was good enough and let us go. No cavity search required.

And as we were about to board the plane, the last thing I heard on our vacation was this announcement,  “Attention  passengers, we are paging Joe Momma…paging Joe Momma. Would Joe Momma please come to the courtesy desk?”  HAHAHAHA, that’s a classic!

 

 

 

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If you’re bored, go back and read Disney, Part 1 here

Weekend in Crappy Pics – Disney 2014 (pt.3)

weekendincrappypics

 

In case you missed the last couple posts, Disney (Part 1) and Disney (Part 2), I’m continuing our Disney trip with some more crappy pics.

 

Day 3 – Hollywood Studios

As you know, Frozen is all the rage right now, and nowhere in Disney is that more apparent than Hollywood Studios.

First we had to see the Frozen sing-a-long musical…which was AWESOME!

 

Then we moved like cattle to a building that contained EVERYTHING and ANYTHING Frozen. Though I couldn’t find the feminine product line-  a bloated Elsa on the box, with sled shaped pads and tampons dangling from her castle like icicles.

 

Ana swore she had to have this t-shirt-

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 I swore I would NOT pay this price-

photo 2 (21)

so we distracted her with something shiny and free. Snow.

Welcome to Wandering Oaken’s Frozen Snowground, where it’s always 40 degrees, and you delightfully slip and slide on recycled slush while wearing shorts.

photo 3 (15)

 

 

Brian screaming over “Do You Want to Build a Snowman”: Oh my god, how long do we have to stay here?

Collin: Can we go?

me: It’s timed, so I think 5 minutes maybe?

Collin: Can we go?

me to cast member: How long do they play in that cold stuff?

Collin: Can we go?

cast member: 15 minutes.

me: oh..no..no..no..no…. (my visible breath swirling into the shape of a dagger before plunging into my heart)

Collin: MOM! That little girl just hit me in the face with an iceball!

 

Who knew Hell would be so cold?

 

 Day 4 – Blizzard Beach

photo 1 (17)

Sadly, this was the only photo I was able to take all day because I had to leave my phone in the locker. But if I did have my camera, this is what I would have captured…

1. Brian losing our locker key in the Lazy River. He spent a half hour with security, breaking into our locker and relocating our belongings.

2. Brian then losing our Disney Gift Card (which we had just loaded with money) on Runoff Rapids. They had to close the ride and call a diver in to retrieve it. Thankfully, the ride was configured in such a way that those waiting in line at the top were unable to see why it was stopped. “I wouldn’t volunteer you’re the reason.” was the advice given to us by the attendant.

3. Me and my mother-in-law ordering a drink from the bar at 2 pm because it had already been a long day.

 

Trick or Treating in Celebration, FL

 

Ah, Celebration, Fl, the idyllic little town that Disney built.

Judging by the small number of homes with lights on, it seems that most of these residences are used as vacation homes. But the ones that did give out candy went fantastically overboard!

Our little Elsa, even found an Anna and Kristoff!

anahalloween

 

But here’s the weird thing…see that gate on their front porch? Almost all of the homes had them, like they were keeping us “out-of-towners” at a safe distance, off their porches and away from their breakables.

For a moment, I considered I might be paranoid, but then we came upon “jail house” where they pointed rifles and threw candy at us over a barbed wire fence.

photo 2 (16)

Something tells me this was a multifaceted design choice.

 

NEXT UP: Epcot and Disney Quest, then home…click here

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