I have my own reasons for upgrading my Ticket to an "end of year" pass. But if my family wants to believe that I did it becuase I love them, and I plan to return to all the special events they have here at Cypress garden - they are right.
But the real reason why I paid to upgrade my "Cypress Garden" admission tickets to the Cypress Garden end of year pass [ where you pay an extra $10 for each ticket today and you can enter Cypress Garden free for the rest of the year until the end of the year ].
My personal reason - well you might think I'm cheap - but consider this. We've been to cypress garden twice already this year and if you calculate the cost - that adds up to $320 dollars [ just in tickets ] and we will probably go again [ after all it's close and cheaper than Walt-disney world ]. So I figure I might look good with the family and save myself a couple hundred bucks.....
And look at the events comming up at Cypress Gardens:
August 16th, 2008
Florida Sports Hall of Fame Induction - The 2008 Induction banquet will be extra special as both the 2007 and 2008 classes will be inducted.
August 23rd, 2008
Florida Miss Cypress Gardens and Miss Winter Haven - At the Cypress Gardens Royal Palm Theater on August 23, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. Information on tickets, contestant application, and sponsorship opportunities coming soon.
August 30th, 2008
Belles, Blues & BBQ - Come join the Winter Haven Firemans Association, for the first annual Belles, Blues, & BBQ competition, hosted in part by Cypress Gardens. All moneys left over after prizes will go to residents in time of need.
August 30th, 2008
Lakeside Fireworks - [ Yeah ! ] Live music by the lakeside and fireworks!
September 6th & 7th, 2008
Teacher Appreciation Days - Teacher Appreciation Days! Valid for teachers and principals in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Hardee and Polk Counties. Pre-Registration Required.
September 13th & 14th, 2008
Teacher Appreciation Days - Teacher Appreciation Days! Valid for teachers and principals in Orange, Brevard, Osceola, Lake, Pasco, Seminole, Volusia and Highlands Counties. Pre Registration Required.
Learn more about: My new Book - order now!
I have my own reasons for upgrading my Ticket to an "end of year" pass. But if my family wants to believe that I did it becuase I love them, and I plan to return to all the special events they have here at Cypress garden - they are right.
I have to say, I was amazed with the electronic Lockers But my kids being animal lovers - they had a hoot in the animal display section. They especially went bonkers over the talking Parrot. see video below
They also enjoyed the alligator - who was to close for comfort for me and Isaac gave us a scare when he tried to go in the Puma cage. Where does this kid get his ideas ??? see some of the other photos below..
Apparently it doesn’t take much now a days to excite me. We went to Cypress garden [ Florida oldest Theme park attraction ] . It’s a changed place - Cypress Garden - if you haven’t heard - now has a large water section [ water park ] with a lazy river, a large water park section with slides for kids and a wave pool. I think it’s great. Not to mention it has a bit for everyone - rides [ roller coasters I will never get on - no fool here - yes I’m scared ] and a Botanical garden - Cypress garden in my opinion - is the bomb!
But you will never guess what was the most exciting part of the trip - the new improved electronic lockers.
Yep, they have these cool electronic lockers there - no more key , they place this wristband on your arm and you go to the color section that matches your band and scan the band - and poof! A locker is automatically picked for you and opens all on it’s own. Can you believe it - no really, can you believe I was so impressed by a locker ????
I took some great pictures and videos of the animal section and will post the here soon. I got the annual pass to Cypress garden - so I’ll have more time to enjoy those lockers...... LOL.
One slip and I could Drown...
I was watching the news and paying close attention to the weather guy. I wanted to know what were the chances of rain tomorrow.
Don't get me wrong I know we need it - our main large lake in town needs at least 28 inches of rain to make it back to normal levels. Right now, it looks like at some spots of the lake you could walk across to the other side of the 3,000 acre lake.
So again - I want it to rain, but there is a limit .... let me see, It may be too much rain if I need to build a bridge to check the mail box.
My kids love animals or should i say - learning about animals. they both like to read books and watch programs about animals. There was a time there for a while that all we ever saw on TV was the show "Animal Kingdom" and the show with Steve Erwin - "the crocodile hunter" - crikie.....
The problem is, for as much as they love learning about animals - they are not fond of swimming with animals. You see with all the rain we've been having lately, the swimming pool has become a haven for frogs looking to reproduce. So even though the swimming pool is fun for the kids - it has become a living hell for me...
If it rains too much the frogs try to take over the pool with their offspring [ tadpoles ] and if it doesn't - the bugs [ like mosquitoes ] try to use it as a breeding ground. So if I don't want my kids to get sick - I have to follow a ritual:
1- check the pool in the morning to see if clean, pumps working and enough chlorine tabs.
2- check and clean filter and skim off any leaves.
3- weekly or if it rains - put chemicals to kill germs and mold.
4- use chemicals to reduce effects of other germ killing germs [ so I don't kill kids ].
5- check steps and pool and all done in the sun.
[ ** Did I mentioned the fact that I hate being out in the Sun .... ]
Why Does America have to Lead - why not other countries...?
I heard a friend of mine make what I believe was a foolish statement - it went like this " Why Does America has to lead the world - why not let the other countries do it ?"
What he was referring in a later comment was - that America acts like it's the only one that knows right from wrong and that people hate us because "we act like the world boss". He may have a point - but my question would be - who then, if not America?
Really think about it - we suffered a terrorist attack and we struck back. How many other European countries have suffered terrorist attacks and have taken a massive undertaking to retaliate?
Here is another point - no matter if we were right or wrong - we started the war in Iraq and we had the resolve to continue - while other countries started to wane and run in fear. Fear of political unrest, fear of terrorist, fear of criticism.... Spain was attacked by terrorist and 191 people died and 1,800 people were injured - what did Spain do ... they voted their officials out and pulled out their troops. How brave they must feel and how sad that they gave in to terrorist attacks.
Today we hear in the news how the insurgency is down in Iraq and the war is going well for us, I'm sure theirs a lot of countries who want to take credit - but if America would have not stood strong - if America would have not stayed the course - if America would have listened to all those “Nay Sayers“..... What would have been the news like today... maybe another terrorist attack?
America doesn't have to be the boss, and America shouldn't bully our neighbors of the world. But if we didn't lead, who would? France? Spain? Or maybe Iran?
[ Spain Unveils Memorial To Madrid Train Bomb Victims ]
Three days after the bombs, Spain held general elections and voted out the conservative Popular Party (PP), a close US ally, putting in its place a Socialist government that quickly fulfilled a pledge to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq.
Your foot hurt - do what Doctor tell’s ya ?
The things we have to do to get healthier. Apparently the pain of her foot was greater than the heart ache or embarrassment of trying to follow doctors orders. My spouse - who will not be named [ to protect me from getting hurt ] has suffered some foot pain and while I don’t know the proper name or even how to spell what the doctor diagnosed her with - I do know it has to do with the muscle at the arch of her foot [ it goes flat and causes pain and when she relaxes her foot it goes back to it’s correct curve only to be stretched flat once she starts walking…]
So what is so funny?
oh I don’t know - the doctor wrapped her foot up and she can’t wet the wrap - so this is what she does to avoid getting her foot wet.....
As parents we don’t give our children Allowances. We may give them money, we buy them stuff they want but allowance - no. Especially for doing things they are suppose to do. Don’t get me wrong - if you give your children an allowance, there is nothing wrong with it. It’s just a choice we have made.
But even though we don’t give an allowance - it doesn’t stop my child from coming up with intriguing new ways to get more money. Or getting more money from dear old mom and dad.
Yesterday my little girl spent two hours quietly hiding in her club house [ under my pool table - What are kids doing ]. She didn’t want to be interrupted or seen - which made us even more curious. After the long wait - she came out with her master plan [ see copy below ] - I admit, it is an interesting idea - but I don’t think it will work - she over shot her expectations - according to her she wants to use monopoly money [ those bills are large denominations ]... we’ll have to negotiate.
Her letter: [ forgive grammar - she is only eleven ]
Kiki’s very good idea - MOM Bucks
What is Mom-bucks?
Mom-bucks is basically when me or Isaac do something good, do a chore without you telling us, or we be nice to each other, or for any other reason. If we act bad or do something that angers you horribly you have the chance to take them away.
When you start you give me and Isaac each 3,000 from either games Monopoly or Payday.
How does it work?
Whenever me or Isaac wants a toy or a game, etc. We give you Mom-bucks to pay for it. Like we’re walking through K-mart and I see a game I really like. I tell you I want it and I have enough in Mom-bucks money to cover the price. You say yes pay for it and I give you the same amount in mom-bucks money. Then I earn more mom-bucks [ you don’t have to say yes] . Since the money from 1,000 to like 10,000 depending how good we act you can give use 5,000 or any other prices.
If you agree: sign here -
I ran across an old photo - and thought, this would be fun to share.
Going to church and learning about God can be a life changing experience - but this, a photo of kiki’s first time ever in a church when she was only a baby - is hilarious.
Oh look at that Face !
It's amazing isn't - just because your their parent they expect you to keep them occupied and happy. What, when I was growing up all I had was the television set [ only 12 channels provided not the 150 channels kids get today ] and my brothers and sisters - which meant a lot of fighting...
But my kids, no they want me to be active, play with them, keep them entertained - Somebody save me....
It's amazing what children will do when your not watching them.....
Here I am doing some work on the computer and taking phone calls - and I notice that my kids are quite - way to quite. so like any good parent i raise my antenna and I hear them whispering and getting things from their rooms. So being the nosey parent that I am - I went to check on them.
I don't know about your kids, but it's amazing what crazy ideas pop into my kids head..........
I was playing with the family in the pool this Sunday afternoon - thank God for day light saving time. But while we were having fun playing and laughing, screaming and basically making a fool of myself - there came a moment when I was tired and just wanted to take a breath. Ofcourse kids being kids - they wouldn’t stop. It got to the point where I almost lost my head and just thought of blurting out a yell - “Stop, leave me alone!”.... But it hit me. With no real effort my Dad crossed my mind.
My Dad left when I was five and like in true form He started another family some where else. While I never “Hated” my father - I just couldn’t understand why he wasn’t with us - most of my young life I asked one question - why don’t I have a Dad? I wish I had a Dad - I need my Dad! When the news about my father’s death arrived - my Mother asked me “Are you Sad?” I replied with - I feel nothing. I didn’t hate him but I didn’t love him either - I had no feelings. A void, an emptiness…
Then I thought about the moment, I may be tired, my kids may be pushing me and I need a break - but I’m here. And one day they’ll grow up and be too busy for me or embarrassed to hang out with dear old dad. I want them to remember me. To remember this moment and I don’t want to mess the memory up because I was tired. I can find a nice why to calm them down - a way to preserve the moment. And hopefully when I pass away, my kids will feel more for me than I ever did for my dad.
High Cholesterol - 290 level..... when Diagnosed!
As a parent I want to live long enough to see my children marry, have grandchildren and have them take care of me for a change. But when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol life pretty much changed for me. Ofcourse by my own choice. I gave up the French fries I love so much at Mcdonalds and cut much of the junk food I ate out. Started having more salads and healthy food - you know the kind that has no taste......
But with gas prices so high and that driving up prices on everything - it’s a bit hard to eat right. Going shopping can cost more than $130 dollars and that’s with out all the extra stuff I normally buy [ treats, candy, chips, food that taste good , etc. ]
But I learned that I atleast don’t have to give up going to Mcdonalds. Yep - I may not have the number 1 meal [ Big Mac meal ] but I can have a healthy and tasty alternative - the Snack wrap [ I prefer the chelope BBQ grilled or crispy ] . Believe it or not it’s low on cholesterol - and saturated fat - but 800 grams on sodium - so if you have problems with sodium [ salt ] avoid it - or just have one.
This High Cholesterol problem is under control - but I have to admit, it has done one good thing.. Well two: 1- one me up to the idea of trying new healthier foods. 2- help me be more conscious of what my kids eat. Once I realized what the kinds of food I was eating was causing to my body - I realized it had to be more damaging to their small growing bodies. I don’t mean weight either - I’ve been skinny as a rail all my life - I’m talking about health. What good is it to be skinny and sick or fat and sick - your still sick........
So I grew up being very wary of being watched when I was - lets say busy doing my thing.....
I still find it awkward to this day using public rest rooms. You know, it’s a private thing and having someone in the next stall - takes all the “personal private “ feeling away. But if your not shy and have no problem using the bathroom in public - maybe you’d be interested in using one of these “lavatories”.
My boy likes to fix his hair. In fact he likes a lot of wierd hair styles. He loves it when his big sister does his hair - she does the spiky thing and he goes wild. but he doesn't like it when you mess up his hair. And he especially hates it when he has a hard time getting it to look right. Considering he doesn't know how to comb his hair correctly.......
I can’t believe what I just said - I think I had a brain fart.
#1 - I want him to learn and
#2 - after a certain time there is nothing very educational after 12 noon.
So I got a bit frustrated because he’s been watching “junk” tv with his sister and I wanted to make sure he got in the educational stuff like sesame street, Dora, Diego, Arthur, between the lion and several other programs I believe are very good for developing minds. After all, he is becoming such a junkie to Halo he cries when I don’t let him play halo - he says “ Dad, my friends are waiting for me. They need me...” of course he means the army men that follow you on the game.
I still sit with him to watch tv but during the afternoon it's more dumb tv as I call it. And the difficulty is that Kiki is 11 years old and he is only 4 years old. It’s great that because of her interest in learning he watches things like “how it’s made” a show that teaches you how things work, made and more. But she also opens the door for him to watch junk like Sponge Bob and even though George Lopez is not a bad show - it doesn’t develop a small mind.......
But I still found it strange threatening my son with “corporal punishment” if he didn’t go watch Sesame street - but I said .. TV. . . . . .
Wait for it - had to sneak up on him..
My Plans Fall APART.....
You, you try to do your best. Make sure you give your family some “Good Quality Time”. You know, as a parent you plan a trip, an outing, a special Barbeque… that’s right, I barbeque… But this weekend, no amount of planning was going to work out as planned.
The Canopy was up, the grill was out, the lawn mowed, the pool cleaned and the kids…. Well sleepy and tired. But my plans would go on. I prepared the meat, seasoned it, got the rice - “FIRST TIME I COOKED RICE”…. the corn, the green beans, lettuce you name it I had it. I had four cups of coffee before 10 am and still had to keep going to make my plans a success......
That’s when it fell apart:
The kids woke up late, the wife didn’t want to get in the pool, and clouds rolled over head. Great - the rain was coming. To make it worst, Flor, Magda’s baby cousin had to go home by two - no one told me…. So I had to put the grill away cause it might rain, while I took the drive into town to take her home by 2 pm. ......
But I didn’t care..... It rained, my kids only spent 20 min’s outside and only I and my son enjoyed the pool - but I barbequed, I grilled and look at my delicious master piece.
You know as a parent, you concern yourself with a lot of things. You think - money may be tight but I want my kids to have fun. I can do without - but my kids shouldn't have too.
So with this in mind, I tried to create a fun week end for the kids. I invited my wife's 15 year old cousin [ you know so it's not just the kids playing ]. I rented a movie, planned a barbeque for Saturday. I planned on waking up very early on Saturday to mow the lawn, clean up and get the pool cleaned - and ofcourse prepare the grill. i wanted to do it all - so my wife could also just enjoy the day.
So What happened...
Well, after my wife picked up her cousin - everything did not go as planned. No one watched the movie - to busy ... ended up watching my regular Friday night shows that I was willing to give up on [ lucky me ]. Then we went to bed - or so i thought...
Apparently my daughter and my wife’s cousin decided to stay up till two in the morning watching TV - and they also decided to sleep in the living room where the big TV is at. Ofcourse I'm a light sleeper so I heard them as they sneaked around trying to be discreet about their plans.
Saturday came and I did what i planned, lawn, pool cleaned, barbeque grill ready - and guess what... they just wanted to play board games and hang out. All that work and nothing came out the way I wanted it - except that they all had fun... So I wont complain...today.....
Ok, he can swim, of course he has a life vest and goggles on - but he has the right idea. It’s more like - hay Dad, I learned to hold my breath under water. But when your having fun… who cares, let him swim.
Enjoy today, remember it - don’t take it for granted
A while back I wrote a post on how " I hate the Hypocrisy of fathers day " - because of all the hypocrisy there is involved in these special days. So I thought I would expand on that thought today. You know, sometime we go thru a lot to make someone happy, feel special or just make their day comfortable. But what often happens is expectations are too high and most people either ignore, overlook or simply take for granted what they have and are given.
Take for instance yesterday. I’m no big cook, but I decided I was going to make the best dinner I could [ ofcourse I was making ribs my favorite so I wanted the best... mmmmm ]. I went all out - I cooked, I cleaned, I did laundry... why laundry? I did everything I could to make sure my babe came home and had nothing to worry about [ no complaints ] ..... The kids bathed, the cloth washed, the beds made, the food ready and dishes cleaned.
So what happened....
Well, first she came home extremely late.
Then we ate .. It was nice, enjoyable, delicious if I don’t say so myself.
And I kept her from doing dishes, I cleaned up the table, put everything away and there was nothing for her to do but eat her desert and relax. But no, no, no.
She couldn’t just enjoy the moment and relax... like some crazy child bent on competing and not allowing others to out do her - she starts looking for stuff to clean, do and work.....
My point: Enjoy the day. Treasure the moments you are given - love your loved one and let them be precious to you. And for all those special days... mothers day, fathers day, Valentine’s day, ground hog day - whatever day. Take‘em for what they are - another day to enjoy the one’s you love. Don’t worry if he/she forgot a gift or a box of chocolates, be happy for what they do, do... get it, do everyday.
But for you women.... I guess Anniversaries are obligatory dates with a need to do something special.
Reminiscing about the good times
Do you ever get bored? Try to find something to do and you end up doing something funny, stupid or silly?
Well I was looking over some photos today with Kiki and Isaac and I ran across an interesting photo of my son when he was just a wee baby boy. You see kiki was in school, the significant other working and my son was taking a nap. And like any proud dad I was watching my son sleep. Then it hit me, a funny but brilliant idea. You know, the kind the you get only once in a life time…… I decided to take a photo of him while he slept - but just a regular picture was not going to do.
Take a look and tell me what you think ? ............
I wonder if I can make a new one now????
it doesn't matter whats happening - it's a good time to go swimming.
I personally don't like spending to much time in the sun, but you just
can't help taking a nice cool dip.
Hey, did I just see a mermaid?
Tip - how to keep home quiet
As a Parent - a quiet home is a luxury - one that doesn’t come along very often.
So I would like to take a second and offer up a small but effective way to do this.
No medication, no games or distractions…..
Just make sure they don't wake up !
Take a look at photo …..
It’s way to early in the morning. Here I am dealing with a clogged drain while everyone else is sleeping. Yes, I can’t seem to let things go. It happened late last night and I was told by my spouse to leave it for tomorrow. I guess you can call 6 am in the morning tomorrow. A long story short I left around 7:30 am in search of driano. When I cam e back I found my spouse and my little boy of only four years old - Drinking coffee. The both of them.......
Can you imagine, this little ball of electric energy needs coffee to brighten up his day today. I guess yesterdays fourth of July festivities took a lot out of him… What am I saying - he’s four years old…
Well I guess I can’t complain, I’ve been trying to cut down on my coffee consumption - But today, I am already on my fifth cup and it’s only 8:30 am in the morning......
Forth of July - happy Birthday America.
A wonderful day for a Barbeque, jump in the pool with the kids and then play a little bit of “Hide and Go Seek”. You would think that it would be an easy thing to do - you know, you go and hide and a four year old has to try to find you. Well, it all started fine but it some how got all confusing.
I decided to play a little bit of hide and seek with my son - I already had cleaned the pool, mowed the lawn - it was time to have some fun before the barbequing. It started fine, I used the kitchen pantry closet to hide in and after waiting a few minutes I jumped out and scared him [ he was never going to find me - he’s four….. Well it was his turn and he decided to count [ while I went to hide ] in the same pantry closet. He counted up to fourteen before he started guessing at numbers and then it happened. I waited, waited some more and waited even more. I was starting to wonder if he forgot all about finding me. Then I heard him - he started calling out to me "Daddy come find me", "daddy come help me I’m stuck", when he thought I wasn’t coming he started calling out to kiki his sister to see if she would help him… When I went to check on him - he apparently had closed the closet and couldn't figure out how to open the doors and let himself out.
of course I had to get the video camera. Take a look below.
But today is a special day ...
Why? Because my little girl wants to make breakfast ! Yea.. I think....
She gets upset with me because I tell her she has to make breakfast for Isaac too. Oh boy, this should be interesting. Well at least their working together, even if Isaac is getting in the way. It's cute to watch them make breakfast. The only sad thing is, yea I like the fact that she is learning how to take care of herself - but that also means my little girl is growing up......
I wonder if she knows how to cook beacon ? ? ? ? ?
It’s no lie - they wake up - and ten seconds later, their arguing about something or other. The funny thing is that they can't live without each other.
Today, they hijacked my bed and kicked me out.
So hear I am awake way to early in the morning and they decide their going to fight about little Isaac breathing to hard. it was bothering her, she [ kiki ] couldn't sleep because her little brother was breathing too hard. hey, what about me.... it's my bed you two guys kicked me out of and I can't sleep because your in MY BED...
So I did the next best thing.... I found a couple of videos to distract them while I ran away to find some peace and quite.
Exploiting my Children online ? ? ? ?
Interesting, I was asked if I felt ok with Exploiting my children.. When I asked, what they meant by “exploiting my children” - they said :
“You know, putting them out there on the internet for all the world to see. Don’t you think your exploiting them - by putting their life on display for people to see?”
It was an interesting thought. And I could see why people would think that - they think it because they’ve seen what happens to child TV stars and lets not forget all the wacko’s out there. But let me explain a few things - at least from my personal life.
My children are the world to me. They are the joy of my life and the air I breath. When my little girl was born I promised to be there for her, unlike my father who left when I was five. As she grew up I realized two things - one, time and age will erode my memory of all the good things I have done and do for my children. So I started keeping a journal and a large book of photos, mementos and comments I jot down.
Then I realized, I wanted my children to remember me, remember the days dad and mom took them to the park, on vacation and to the movies. It didn’t matter how trivial it was - it was family time. I thought to myself, one day my daughter and son will be teenagers and they may need to be reminded of all the love they received from their parents. So I doubled my efforts to record the things we did, the things that happened in our lives. Even the bad - I have photos of the time a hurricane came thru and damaged our home - pictures of us hanging out by a window as we played games and wished for a cool breeze to come by.
So it wasn’t much of a stretch to want to write a blog about what I thought and talk about my kids. It was just one more reason to think about my kids, to laugh and enjoy and remember them. I make sure I show my kids the blog - often times their right there with me as I write the blog or post a video.
One day they will grow up and I will be gone.
I want my kids to have something tangible to remember me by. Something they can show their kids and grand kids.. Something they can use to build their understanding of who dad and mom was, were, and how they can be the best parents they can be. I don’t have memories of a father because I had none. My memories of my mom are strong - but fade with every year. How many people can recall what happened on day so an so when they were five?
I’m not afraid of being forgotten. I have as much fun creating my memorabilia books and blog as much as they have fun reading them. If I die and they decide to throw my works of memory into the trash - atleast they will know ....... We had a lifetime of memories.
Indiana Jones and the temple of Quietness
I said it before I’ll say it again - I love video games. Especially if they give a bit of “Peace and Quiet” in the home. Oh, there is nothing more exciting than watching my kids play - that is, play quietly.
Ofcourse since I’m a big fan of games myself - I play a little myself. And I have to say, if you want a nice clean game that will help your kids use those brain cells and enjoy themselves [ plus keep them quiet ] I suggest you get “ Lego Indiana Jones “ tribute game. This game is cool, especially if you’re a movie buff and an Indiana Jones fan.
It pretty much takes you thru all three Indiana Jones movies - [ not last 4th installment ]. It’s great, you get the whip, you fight, jump, solve puzzles and ofcourse it has movie clips in Lego format. So cute.
The only bad thing is, if you’re an avid player - or a junkie like me - you could easily go thru the entire game in about three days [ give or take a day - depends how good you are and how long you like to play] in my daughters case - five days and she finished the entire game. The one plus to the game is that they also have a “Free play feature”. That means you can play the movie and when your done you can go back to different levels and find surprise bonus’ [ stuff that have nothing to do with original movies ].
I guess it depends on the person - most people don’t play five to six hours straight - but this is a child with long summer days and no school. . . .