Vacation Disney

Calling all travel agents, Southern California residents, and expert vacationers 🙂 ! Jim and I are trying to plan our 10th wedding anniversary trip (in our 11th anniversary year 🙂 ) and I am realizing that event and trip plan is just not my cup of tea!

We intended to do this trip last September (our 10th anniversary was Sept 16th 2004). We were going to have a 3 year old little boy and a 4 month old baby and it was going to be fun fun fun. Due to Ty’s unexpected early arrival, we have had to postpone all vacationing so our anniversary trip got pushed into 2005.

Here is our plan so far:

Jim would like to take vacation time in early December. We are hoping that some of our family members will tag along on our trip.

We would like to visit:

* Disneyland and California Adventure (2 to 3 days)
* San Diego Zoo
* Sea World (maybe)
* Knotts Berry Farm or Lego Land

We will be staying with family in So. California for the most part but we would like a 2 to 3 night stay in Anaheim during our Disney trip and possibly a 1 to 2 night stay in San Diego.

I would really like to stay at the new Disney Grand California Hotel but from my shopping it looks like a 3 night stay would add at least 300.00 bucks to our hotel expense (as opposed to a local moderate hotel). Is it really worth that? Haven’t decided.

Pricing Options:

Right now I am trying to balance a few options.

* Jim gets a discount on tickets through Intel – he should be researching this.
* The So. CA Citypass covers 3 days at Disney/Ca Adventure, 1 day Seaworld, 1 day San Diego Zoo and 1 day at Knotts – which would be perfect. You can use this pass over a 14 day period.
* I looked at Disney packages off the Disney website and can get 3 day tickets and hotels for a fairly good package price (I think) but if I did this I wouldn’t get the City Pass so than I would have to buy the other park tickets seperately. I need to spreadsheet this all out and see what seems cheapest.

I think once I get this done, I will call a Travel Agent to see if they can come up with a better plan. I don’t have to pay Travel Agents do I? They get paid by whoever we book with is that right? If I spend more using an agent than I guess that wouldn’t make sense? Anyone know a good agent:)?

Other things to think about:

* Jim and I want to go in early Dec because (a) value season and hopefully less crowded (b) cooler (c) decorated for Christmas!!!
* We are really really wanting to see the water show at Disney that we always seem to miss. (The animation over the water – what is that called?) Does it play in Dec? Only on certain nights?
* We think we want our Disney trip to be a Wed – Fri trip because Wed and Thurs should be good light traffic days but then Friday we can see the shows that only play on weekends. Good idea?
* We don’t need airfare or rental cars as we are driving.

I am writing all this in my journal because some of you avid vacationeers may have some good suggestions for me on travel tips and discounts. I am open to your suggestions so comment away! My friend Kathy put a whole Disney book together for her trip. I am having fun planning this but I am not confident that I am any good at finding the best deals.

So…any thoughts?

Ty and the Glow Baby

At the risk of you all thinking that I am a mean mean mom, I just could not resist the temptation to show something to you! This is the funniest (and saddest) video clip ever 🙂 !

Shortly after Ty was born, my friend Lois mailed me a baby shower in a box. She even included homemade cinnamon rolls that were AWESOME! (Still hoping for that recipe Lois 😉 )! Also in this box was a baby gloworm for Ty. I was so excited because I loved my gloworm as a child.

When Ty was only a couple of months old (corrected), I got out his glowbaby for him. As soon as the bug lit up, he cried. I thought it was a fluke. We put the bug away but have brought it back out several times over the last 16 months. Each time, he takes a few days before acclimating. It got buried in the toy box and he hasn’t seen it for awhile. (I have mentioned this issue a few times before if you recall).

Today was a lazy day in our household. All FOUR of us managed to get the stomach flu this weekend. NOT a fun Father’s Day. At one point, Jim was in bed barely moving, I was loosing every meal of the last several days in the bathroom, and Tanner was jumping up and down next to me insisting on his turn for the toilet. I ended up using the bathtub to “hurl” (as Jim say’s) so that Tanner could use the toilet. Meanwhile, Ty is sitting watching all this because I didn’t have time to shut the door. Ty’s diapers were beyond gross and Jim and I were taking turns handling that because both of us feared we wouldn’t make it through a diaper change without ending up on our knees. I know…more info than you ever wanted…sorry…

Anyhow, so Jim and I had a flu hangover today and we sat around and watched Little House reruns (at my insistence…not Jim’s idea of a good day 🙂 ). Ty got into his toybox and next thing we know he is sobbing his heart out. Jim went to check on him and started laughing. Sure enough…Ty found that glow baby and was crying. He has a strange fascination with this bug. He bites it, tugs at it, plays with it and is just fine UNTIL it lights up and sings and then he starts crying. When the gloworm stops singing, he quits crying and then does it all over again. Doesn’t it seem he would avoid the toy? He has many toys that light up and sing. I don’t get it.

This evening I got out the video camera and tried to catch this phenomena. I was not disappointed. For the record, while it may appear that I was purposefully scaring Ty with this gloworm, I promise you…he was doing this on his own before I got involved and continued to do it until I put the glow baby away tonight (mommy couldn’t take it anymore). I have never seen Ty afraid of ANYTHING except this little bug. Is it fear? It almost looks like it makes him sad. This has gone on since he was a tiny baby and I have no idea why this little bug affects him so consistently. It is a sad sad cry but he gets over it very quickly. Earlier this afternoon, I tried conditioning him to it. I sat and rocked and kissed the glowbaby and then showed him how sweet the little bug is. He tried to be brave. He gave me a big smile and tried his hardest to cowboy up. Next thing you know his smile couldn’t stay put and the crocodile tears started coming. The third clip I have in the line up (the longest one) demonstrates a bit of this. The first go round he really tried to be brave but he couldn’t hold out. I couldn’t keep teasing him with it after that because it was making me too sad. He went back on his own for several more rounds though until I put it away. He is a glutton for punishment it seems.
I have no idea what to make of this. After viewing the video, feel free to register your opinion as to what is bothering him so. I can’t figure it out. Go to the video links page to see the clips. Funniest home videos, here we come 🙂 .

Note to Lois – thank you for the entertainment! Ty will grow to love this bug in time I am sure! If he doesn’t, we will get hours of fun in the years to come watching these clips. His future wife will LOVE it. LOL!

We Call Him Dash

Age: 17 months actual – 13 months corrected
Weight: 23.8 pounds
Length: 31.5 inches

Progress Report

On May 18th, Ty’s 8th tooth came in :).

On May 6th, his pulmonoligst released him from his care! No more regular appointment unless we need something.

On May 11th, his neurologist said “He is a miracle”. No sign of CP still! Yeah!

On May 20th, we sent Ty’s Sat Monitor back to Praxair! BIG STEP!

On June 6th – Ty was RELEASED into the big wide world! Yeah! We are no longer on lockdown!

Eating – He is doing better! We have determined that it is easiest to get him to eat things that are frozen. His favorite? Frozen peas! Isn’t that wild? He loves them! He also LOVES Ice Cream. Blue Bell’s Bananna Split is awesome 🙂 .

He still chokes a lot and doesn’t eat much but he is starting to eat a little more finger food so that is good.

Medications – He is still on Reglan and Omeprazole. Don’t have any idea when we will get him off.

Illness – His cold lasted about 1 and half weeks which was much better than I expected. As it turned out, he had an ear infection. He was fine for about a week and then yesterday his nose started running again and he was coughing a bit in his sleep. I figured this would happen when we went “out”. It will probably take some time to build up his immunity so I think we will likely have several summer colds. I just hope he isn’t one of those kids with repeat ear infections. All in all though, I’d say he did pretty darn well to wait until he was 16 months before getting an ear infection. (Tanner has actually never had one).

Talking – I am a little concerned that he isn’t adding words. He is still at the same 4 – Ma Ma, Da Da, Ta Ta, and No No No. I think he is trying to say “Yah” though. I comes out “Ah”. He responds with this word when you ask him if he wants something or if he is wanting more. The eyebrows raise when he say’s “Ah” too – pretty cute.

Crawling – When we got back from DC he was a crawling pro. No more army crawl, he is on all 4 and is FAST FAST FAST. We have been calling him “Dash”.

Walking – Not yet. He isn’t standing alone either. If I hold his hands he may take one or two steps but that is it. He can cruise along furniture great though. I think it will take awhile yet before he figures this out.

Other Motor Skills – He is pointing and trying to open doors 🙂 . He can reach anything. Irregardless of how far out of reach you THINK an object is…he will get it. Jodi was eating dinner next to him last week and I tried to warn her about this. I told her not to order anything red. What does she do? Orders a strawberry fruit drink. She puts it clear to her left side (Ty was on the right). Next thing you know, Ty snags the drink quick as a wink and was about to attempt to drink it. By some miracle of grace, he didn’t spill it. Ty and I had to trade places. I was not going to allow a second attempt.

Mama Bond – When Tanner was a baby he would go to anyone. He didn’t start a mama attachment until 18 months. It appears Ty is going to do the same thing. Ty has just started crying for me if I leave the room. He follows me EVERYWHERE. His favorite word is “Ah Ma” (he has been saying Ma Ma this way for a couple of weeks). I am wondering if my trip to DC is what caused him to make sure I am not going anywhere again?

Church – We went to church for the first time since last summer this past Sunday. Ty loved it. He especially loved the music.

Eyes – Last week I had to take Ty to the Eye Dr. for his regular appointment. It so happened that Amanda was visiting that day so she went with me. When I introduced Amanda to Ty’s Dr., I had to smother a wicked little grin as I watched the surprise play across her face. How does one respond to “This is my son’s birthmom”. Pretty funny to watch. It turned out to be quite convenient because we got to discuss the genetic links to Ty’s esotropia and the Dr. looked at Amanda’s eyes too 🙂 . I insisted that Ty is still having crossing issues but she didn’t see them. After a bit of discussion, it boiled down to this. His Dr. agrees that it LOOKS like Ty is experiencing strabismis but he is actually focusing perfectly. She labeled this “Psuedo-Strabismis”. This is where a child appears to be crossing but in reality they aren’t. I guess that depends on how you define crossing. Ty IS crossing but remaining perfectly focused in the center of his eye even when he does. How can you tell? One way is by light reflection. The light reflects out of the center of both pupils irregardless of eye position. Awfully suspicious that this would be pseudo when He DID in fact have a serious issue with this that included surgery but Ty has an awesome Dr. and she can’t determine that his focus is off so….? I don’t know.

Teeth – Ty chipped his top right tooth last week! I have no idea how he did this. Do I fix this? What do you do when a baby chips their tooth? Aaaghhh! He looks pretty adorable and I am not about to put him under anethesia again to fix this at the moment so I don’t know what we will do yet. Here is a picture:

My little busy boy keeps me running. By the end of the day sometimes, I can’t wait for my beautiful boy to drift away to sleepy town. He has been liking mommy to hold him at night and is getting pretty mommy dependant when he is sleepy. I love it. Nothing better than cuddling a tired little boy. These are the special times that fade so fast…I don’t want to miss a moment.

Tanner Adopted Triops

Age: FOUR!

Mailed to the President

Mailed to the President

*More pictures of Tanner have been posted in the June Photo Album.

Tanner has been four for almost a month and we still have not had his birthday party! Ty has been 1 for 5 months and he still has not had his official party. Due to general extended family busy-ness and our DC trip, the date kept getting pushed. It is high time we get that Shear Shactor party going though so I am going to try to choose the date with family tonight!

Tanner and the Triops
Aunt Heidi bought Tanner a birthday present that served as a wonderful educational tool for me! Go Heidi! When we opened the package there was a pet carrier with something inside. I was pretty concerned. What could she have possibly sent? Oh Lord please don’t let their be a dead animal that died in the Phoenix heat in here. Not very rational of me, I admit…but there was a strange odor and mother’s of boys do get nervous to see pet carriers.

We opened the carrier and inside was a package. It was Triops! The package had dinosaurs on it and explained that triops are “from the age of dinosaurs” (whatever that means). Inside the package were living triop eggs. According to the directions, if we place these eggs in water, they will hatch within 24 hours. These little creatures will live for up to 70 days. I must admit, they do look somewhat prehistoric. While studying this package, a light bulb goes off in my head!

“Tanner! Guess what! You are an adoptive parent now! You just adopted embryos. Remember how I told you that when you were teeny tiny you were mailed to us in a black cryopreservation tank and how we put you in mommy’s tummy so you could grow? Well Triops don’t grow in their mommy’s tummies, they grow in water but you got to adopt them when they were teeny tiny and give them a place to grow too. Isn’t that cool?” I said. This is a lesson that DID make sense to my 4 year old.

So to all my fellow Snowsisters…you may consider a Triop Adoption when teaching your kids about the miracle of their life. I think a Triop is a real miracle too. We haven’t put them in the tank yet because we need to go get distilled water. Pretty cool adoption story though isn’t it? (Until they eat one another. The package warns that the siblings tend to be canniballs. I will be sure to distract from that point 🙂 ).

Mr. Tender Conscience
Lately I have felt very humbled. I have always believed that I have a very sensitive conscience but Tanner puts me to shame. I have stared at him several times this week thinking “can he be real?” How many times have I tiptoed silently to the room he was in to take a peek expecting that surely he is disobeying what I just asked. Nope. He sits quietly doing exactly what he was supposed to. Lately, when he sees me peeking he smiles and say’s “Are you checkin’ on me?” :). Too cute.

A couple of weeks ago, Tanner got up very early one morning and Jim sent him back to bed. About 45 minutes later I was walking down the hall and I see Tanner wide awake sitting quietly on his bed. I said “Tanner, you can get up now”. (It was pretty obvious that he had been sitting there quietly since daddy left). His response? “I fink my daddy said it’s too ooohreee (early)”. I stood in amazement. Not only had he continued to sit there quietly for 45 minutes, even after daddy was gone and I was still asleep (as in no one would have known otherwise), but then he still defended his daddy’s authority when I told him he could get up. We have taught him that if daddy say’s no he can’t ask mommy and vice versa but still his consistency to our family rules is pretty inspiring sometimes. Especially when my little wicked heart wonders if I would have done the same in his situation at 4. My mother would probably say “doubtful”.

On Sunday we took Tanner to see Star Wars III while Darin and Jodi babysat Ty. We are sci-fi fanatics in this family and seeing SW3 at the theatre was a MUST. (I wouldn’t recomment SW3 for most 4 year olds – pretty dark. Tanner is a die hard though and loved it).
Half way through the movie I attempted to hand Tanner more gummy bears. He looks up at me in complete sincerity and say’s “I fink daddy said no too much”. Refusing candy that mommy offered!!!! Amazing! (And yes Jim did tell Tanner to be careful not to each too much).

This past weekend Tanner was going somewhere with Jim. Before he went out the door he ran back to me to make sure that I knew that daddy gave him permission to leave without shoes. I always insist he has put his shoes on before we leave the house (like any good mother 🙂 ) and Jim had apparently told him shoes were unnecessary for their trip. Tanner couldn’t leave without making sure that I knew Daddy had given him permission to be shoeless. Wow. Sometimes I hardly know how to respond.

Hard Work

A couple of days ago, I was frustrated with the kid mess and asked Tanner to help me clean stuff up. While we were working I was venting my frustrations about how much work is involved for mother’s having to do everything all the time (you know that speech I am sure 🙂 ). After Tanner finished his clean up portion I said “Tanner thank you for helping me work.”

He said “Ya. Little kids hard work“. Then he added, “I like it when you say dat.” (Meaning he likes it when I say thank you). Don’t you just want to squeeze him?

Spider Man Journal

Jim and Tanner have started a writing project. Jim tells stories to Tanner each night and they decided that they need to save their stories for Ty so they bought a spider man journal and they are writing stories down at night leaving little boxes for Jim to animate later. (Jim is an awesome artist). Here is the very first story in their book:

Jenny the Chimpanzee on Her Motorcycle

Today started off unusual. When Jenny got ready to go to school she got to her motorcycle and it had a flat tire. How is she going to get to school? Does she get a tire pump and pump the tire back up? Yes!!! After pumping up the tire Jenny was able to ride to school. Jenny likes school and has fun there. Jenny has many friends at school. For lunch the school fed Jenny and her friends bannans and termites. No potato chips for them. After lunch Jenny got back on her motorcycle and rode back home. The End.

Okay…I can’t resist…one more (Jim has no idea I am sharing these – serves him right for not reading my journals 🙂 ).

Larry the T-Rex With Blue Eyes

(I am assuming Tanner is contributing to these stories 🙂 )

He is not getting on Noah’s Ark. He is not flying around in spaceships shooting other dinosaurs. He is not going to the beach. He is not going to a friends house. He is not going to the zoo to eat the other animals. He is not sleeping in Tanner’s bed. He is not going to the Doctors. He is not going to the store to get toys. He is not brushing his teeth. He is not at McDonald’s eating cheeseburgers. He is not surfing on a surfboard on the ocean.

(So what IS Larry doing? I don’t know. Tanner and Jim haven’t finished this story. I am curious though how it will end 🙂 ).


Good news: “Shunny” is finally “Funny”. Bad news: “Sandwich” is now “Famwhich”. LOL. Figures.

And when he is not happy with his brother I hear “See what you done!!!” or “GRRRREEEAAAT!”. This “great” is said in that “look what you did – that is just GREAT” tone. I can’t help but grin at this because my little tiny monkey is not the least intimidated by his big brother. How did I manage to get two first born personalities? This is going to get interesting. I have an example of a sibling fight last night on video. In this example, Tanner was purposefully pestering Ty because he knew we were capturing Ty’s response on video. This is an everyday occurence though (and no, Tanner does not get permission to pester his brother like this but I did make one small exception for the purpose of capturing it on film LOL. NOW if you want to call me a hypocrite I think it would probably be fair 🙂 ). To see these short clips, click on the Video link in the left column.

And to Aunt Heidi – you have been renamed “Ann Hi”. After his birthday present came in the mail, he has been wanting to check to see if “Ann Hi” sent anything else LOL :). Between you and Jennifer and Grandma Longo, Tanner thinks everyday is his birthday 🙂 .

All In A Day
This story could have been included under my MADD topic. Before going to DC, I took Tanner on a shopping trip to buy him a few things for the trip. I was in a rush (like always) and my brain was centered on the many tasks at hand. While we were walking through Target, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were staring at Tanner. Quite honestly, this happens all the time. That red hair is eye catching. This particular trip was unusual though. Not only were they staring but they were whispering, giggling, and some even followed us a bit. Weird. I looked at Tanner and said “Boy – people sure like your hair today don’t they?” He said “Yep” and we went on our merry way.

When we were in the check out lane the glances and giggles continued. I was puzzled but as I think people should stop in awe staring at my kids (just like any good mom 🙂 ), I was not particularly surprised.

At the counter, the cashier began a conversation. Here was our conversation:

C: “How hold is your son?”

D: “4”

C: “I bet he is just at that age where he wants to do everything himself isn’t he?”

D: “Yep”

C: “Dressing himself now?”

D: “Yep”

Wait a minute. I feel like she has a point here. I glance down and finally see what was causing all the attention. His shirt is backward. His pants are backwards. His shoes are on the wrong feet. I am not ABOUT to admit that I never noticed this. Not any of it. So I say:

D: “Ya, sometimes as a mom you just have to pick your battles”. Then I smile sweetly.

C: “I had 4 kids. I know just what you mean.”

I left the store so grateful that I delivered that line with ease and grace. Now to my friends, I will confess. I was kind of lying. Shame on me. SOMETIMES I do pick my battles on the dressing issue. On that specific day though, I simply never noticed. I would like to believe it is because he dresses backwards so often that it just doesn’t catch my attention but I am afraid that the real problem was yet again…MADD.

Tanner and Miss Pattycake

Speaking of the birthday present from Ann Hi…

Heidi mailed “Miss Pattycake and the Hullaballoo Zoo” to Ty for his birthday. Ty has a pretty short attention span still but he does love at least the first song and will sit and clap clap clap. The first time I watched this with Ty, Tanner sat in the corner of the couch not saying a word. The next day, Tanner said Ty wanted to watch it again. Hmmmm. Okay. Ty and I sat down to watch it and Tanner found his corner of the couch. On Day 3, same thing occured but Tanner sat beside me on the floor. On Day 4, he was in my lap clapping and trying to sing. Miss Pattycake wormed her way into my shy boy’s heart and I think he is falling in love. Everyday is a Pattycake Praise day you now 🙂 .

I LOVE this DVD and I have the songs nearly memorized myself. It is precious. My favorite song though is Psalm 39:14. I have decided that this is the first verse I will work on teaching Tanner. He is trying but he thinks it is too hard at the moment. We’ll keep working on it though and he’ll get it eventually. Either way, it has been firmly rooted in my heart and has beautiful application to both my children that I was priveledged to hold before they were deemed “viable”.

Psalm 39:14 I praise you Lord for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

DC Trip

These were just a few little “Tanner moments” that didn’t get mentioned in my DC journals. Before we left I was talking about flying on the plane. I was trying to generate some excitement because I didn’t know if Tanner would be scared. I told him we were going to fly real high in the sky. He said “Mommy. Can plane fly low?” LOL.

He also kept having gift ideas for the President. First he wanted to know if he could bring his snake (that Aunt Christine bought) to scare the President. I said no. 🙂 Then he wanted to know if he could give one of his eyeball gummies to the President. I said no. Jennifer Cowart would have said “Yes” :). Because she isn’t his mother and she wouldn’t have to stand by in horror while the secret service apprehended one small red head. All is fun and games when it isn’t happening to you! (And Jennifer, I have been sooo remiss in telling you thank you for the frogs. Tanner LOVED them but Ty keeps trying to dismember and eat them and that causes many fights in our home. Being a mother of boy’s yourself – you knew exactly what you were doing to my peaceful little home. No excuses. LOL! Love ya)

On a sad note, and I would appreciate your prayers for this…Tanner has overheard things on the ESCR issue that a four year old cannot process or understand. Jim and I were talking about the ESCR issue in the car one day and from the back seat Tanner asks “Mommy? Do people want to kill me?” I almost cried. First for not being more careful about what he might hear/understand. Second – the impact of the question itself. I used that as an opportunity to say “No! Not you! Your genetic family loved you very much and protected you.” I showed him his first picture as a 2 PN embryo later and explained that we were going to Washington to protect the embryos. While we were in DC, I was trying to get him settled before a press conference and I said “Honey remember why we are here?” I didn’t expect him to answer. He did. He said “For the embryos”. He understands enough.


I don’t know about you, but I am in the mood for funny stuff. I need to swear off all heavy topics for the day and just laugh for a bit. The boys give me plenty of reasons to laugh daily so I have much to share in their journals (I have missed writing about my boys)!

I know my title mighta scared ya but no worries :). According to Heidi, MADD is an acronym for Motherhood Attention Deficit Disorder. I have written about my fear that I have a form of ADD several times. Miss Heidi thought it would be funny to send me a definition of this disorder recently. She knew I would be able to relate LOL. The article explained how those inflicted with MADD spend their day’s spinning circles because many tasks are started and few are completed. These mothers are busy busy busy but at day’s end they have no idea what they actually did. As I read, I felt myself continually nodding “yep” – that’s me. Not today though…today I will be on top of my game.

A couple hours after enjoying her email I emailed Heidi the following:

Heidi – After reading your MADD email, I just realized that my first incident of the day started.

Tanner asked me to make his shake (chocolate milk). Okay. I go into the kitchen to make it. I think to call my mom while I am doing that. Also while I am standing there I decide to go ahead and make Ty’s bottle.

I leave the kitchen and hand Ty’s bottle to Tanner. Tanner said “Mommy look!” I asked “What Tanner?”. He points to the bottle in his hand. Oh. I go put the bottle in the fridge. I then remember my dad is coming over so I go to my bedroom to get my robe. Ty is awake. I get Ty up and put him in his swing. He needs his bottle. I go to the fridge and get his bottle. Give Ty the bottle and am on my way back into the bedroom when Tanner throws his elbow into the couch (in frustration) and say’s “Uuuuuuuuuggggghhhhhhh!” Again, I ask “WHAT Tanner?”

He say’s “Mommy I want my shake!”

I said, “I gave that to you already!”

He said “No! You gave me Ty’s bottle!”

Oh ya. Sorry. His shake is still on the counter.

So my dear Heidi Jo, does this description purchase me my MADD membership card? 🙂 🙂 🙂