Today was a great day!

Historically I haven’t really been much of a Busch Gardens fan because A) I’m scared shitless of “real roller coasters”; and B) I tend to spend half the time comparing everything to Disney and just being perpetually disappointed.

That said, somehow the stars aligned today and what was our first of likely many visits in 2019 was actually pretty great. Granted, it certainly didn’t hurt that admission for our family of 5 only cost us about $120 … for the entire year! … thanks to a buy 1, get 1 free offer on their Fun Cards that they offered for Black Friday last year coupled with free preschooler cards for all of our kids.

We pretty much spent the entire afternoon just walking around, looking at animals, and the boys absolutely LOVED it!

I ended up with Christopher and David because Matthew was cranky and Sara was trying to get him to fall asleep, but it was pretty awesome just how engaged they were with each and every new animal that we came across – whether it was something big like the giraffes or lions or even smaller stuff like lizards and snakes and whatnot. We took a little time to learn something new about each one, and I think they really liked being able to call the shots by picking which animals we were going to check out next…

…even if I did have a hell of a time actually finding some of them!

If I had to rank our favorites, I think it might look something like this:

  1. Hippo
  2. Elephants
  3. Gorillas
  4. Flamingoes
  5. Duck fishing in the Hippo pond

After our animal hunt, we ended up over in the Sesame Street area, which I absolutely loved the last time we were here because I think that Busch just did a really great job of making it so fun and colorful and interactive for the kids.

David was still a little nervous going on rides, but he really enjoyed the ones that he could do with Christopher.

Christopher, on the other hand, would’ve lived there if we’d given him the chance, and one ride in particular was pretty amazing. He and David were going to ride their Snuffleupagus version of a Dumbo ride, but it turns out that while they were both tall enough to ride, Christopher wasn’t tall enough to supervise his little brother on the ride, so he rode by himself while David rode with Sara.

Watching that kid slowly realize that he could make the elephant go as high or low as he wanted all by himself was absolutely wonderful, even if it felt like he was literally growing up before my very eyes!

I wish I would’ve gotten a better picture of the GINORMOUS SMILE on his face, but darkness + spinning ride doesn’t make for good pictures… 😛

It was almost the same with their last ride of the night – the two boys were able to drive a car for The Count together, and boy, do I wish that I could’ve had a GoPro strapped to the dashboard to catch a glimpse into that little joy ride! 😀

On our way out, we got to enjoy the lights and Christmas decorations during their final weekend, which was a nice way to wind down the evening as we slowly headed out to the car. The kids split a couple of giant cookies, Sara and I each got to indulge in some holiday-themed desserts, and before we had even pulled out of the parking lot, two of the three kids were already fast asleep in their car seats…

Ultimately the weather was great – a bit chilly with the wind, but nowhere near spring or summer heats that make theme parks more challenging, the kids were amazingly well behaved, and it’s nice that we’ve got another option to entertain them that’s a little closer than driving all the way over to Disney World.

And I didn’t have to go on a single roller coaster!

Swim lessons are expensive for three kids, but it’s nights like tonight when I’m beyond satisfied with the investment we’re making in these crazy, little swimmers.

The swim school that we’ve taken the boys to basically since Christopher was born does this program twice a year called Water Safety Week – during which instead of their usual lessons, every kid wears their normal clothes into the pool and gets taught at their level about the core basics of keeping themselves safe around around water. They spend some time in the pool so that they’re not foreign to the shock of being in the water with their clothes on, and then they all try on life jackets and float around the pool in the most adorable choo-choo train formation you’ve ever seen in your life!

They also take a few minutes to talk to us parents about the importance of using safety features with our pools at home and having designated watchdogs when attending or hosting a party where kids will be in or around the water. Some of the statistics shared are just terrifying – apparently in Florida alone, we’ve lost 86 kids to drowning this year … which is the equivalent of four preschool classes of drownings on average each year.

Fortunately, they say that swim lessons reduces the risk of a child drowning by 88%, so that’s something to help us sleep even just a little better at night.

Plus, the kids all just absolutely love their swim lessons, and it’s always fun to watch them trying out the new things that they’ve learned and being pushed towards new skills in an area that I myself very much struggled with growing up, and honestly still kind of do!

I figured I’ve shared these just about everywhere else, so why not throw ’em up on the trusty, old blog, too?!

In a word, Christopher’s 1st birthday party came together spectacularly awesome. She’ll tell you that we did a lot of it together, but Sara was really the driving force behind a lot of the colorful fun seen here below, from the rainbow-assorted sugar cookies to Ernie’s Rubber Duckie Punch to all of the other sweet Sesame Street ideas that she collected on Pinterest and got a “Sure!” from me about in a typical man’s reply. 😉

It’s hard to believe that this little guy has already been around for an entire year – in that time he’s gone from an extremely expensive little science project to this almost Muppet-like, silly personality that giggles and laughs at just about everything and is due to start tearing into anything not bolted down around our house pretty much any day now!

Happy Birthday, little dude! I, for one, would be more than happy to tell you how to get to Sesame Street. 😀

THE BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

October 28, 2013 7:45pm
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So good news, everyone … this is officially happening…

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And also for a more sugary take on it all…

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What to say, what to say?! :mrgreen:

It’s all still very surreal to me, even though we’re technically now out of the first trimester and are 1/3 of the way to having a baby.

HAVING A BABY

It’s definitely going to take a while to get used to seeing those words in the present tense instead of merely wishful thinking!!!

There’s a lot of back story behind all of this that I promise we’ll talk about eventually … it’s been quite the ordeal over the last couple of years, to say the least … but for now I’d rather focus on the crazy, insane, unbelievable positive that in roughly 187 days I’m going to be a Daddy! 😯 😯 😯

Needless to say, I’ve already started on the first of many new humor columns that are to be written about the mere idea of me being a parent. It’s wild, and the one thing that I’m starting to realize from talking to other people who are already classified as such, it’s that as much as I feel like I’m not ready, I’m starting to get the impression that most people never are, and it’s just one of those things where you roll with the punches and just kind of see what happens…

And so that’s what we’re going to do! There’s so much to do, and a lot of it honestly makes me feel equal parts excited and terrified, but I’m just trying to take it one day at a time as Sara and I slowly prepare for one of the biggest things that will ever happen in our entire lives … no pressure.

Current Baby To-Do List:

  • Put “bun” into “oven”
  • Announce said 9-month baking process
  • Panic
  • Calm self down from panic by buying toys
  • Read through 100,000 baby names and, in collaboration with wife, pick 1
  • Buy stock in Babies ‘R Us in preparation for their huge stock increase after we buy pretty much buy every single item they have in stock
  • Sell lots and lots … and lots of books so that I don’t later have to rob a bank to pay for above-mentioned purchases
  • Teach Cleo not to eat babies (work in progress)

187 days and counting… 😯 😀 😕 😐 :mrgreen:

Let’s Make Cake Pops!

June 15, 2013 12:06am
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Today was fun!

Hung out and did family stuff up here in Michigan all day, the highlight of which was making cake pops which ended up being extraordinarily messy and yummy and fun, as you can clearly see in the picture above from my niece, Madelyn. (click through for more pics!)

My only complaint was that the glaze didn’t work out quite well and the cake wouldn’t stick to the sticks … not sure if the cake wasn’t dense enough or the glaze thin enough or what, but it make decorating them afterwards quite the ordeal. Eventually we all just sort of gave up and dug in with our hands, following Madelyn’s lead, and there was much rejoicing.

Also, apparently kids get super hyper when you let them eat half a dozen cake pops in a row and god knows how much icing and “beans” (sprinkles) off of the rest…  🙄

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