Family Night Out

Last Sunday evening we joined three other kindergarten families at a hibachi restaurant across town for dinner.  We ended up in a private room in the back that had two hibachi cook tops.  The children sat at one and the adults sat on the other.  It worked out perfectly for our party of 17.  I’m sure the patrons of the restaurant who were there to enjoy their meals appreciated us being contained to the back too.  The kids, while very well-behaved, were so excited to see each other and could hardly contain their joy.  It was really adorable.  Sadly,  I left my camera in the car so I didn’t get any photographs of our dinner.

Somehow, we managed to still have room for dessert and caravan-ed over to a local ice cream institution, Del’s Freez.  The tiny little walk-up ice cream shop on US-1 has been in business in Melbourne since 1956.  It recently re-opened after closing for repairs.

LOL!  Anyway, the place looked great with it’s new paint job and it was as busy as ever with lines almost out onto the highway.

The ice cream is all soft-serve and comes in four flavors- chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and peanut butter (my personal fave).  Twists of these flavors are possible too.  The topping selection is pretty impressive as well.  As you can see, the kiddos loved it!

And just like in 1956, all transactions are cash only 🙂

I hope we’re able to get together with these families again this summer.  Wildman’s kindergarten class was a close little group and I hope that we can remain friends even when our kids get split up among 3 different first grade classes in the fall.

Our family drove down to the end of Mathers bridge to watch the sun set after getting sufficiently sugared up at Del’s.  The boys (including my husband) enjoyed climbing all over the rocks while I took a few photos of the huge orange sun dissolving into the purple haze on the horizon.


Orlando Weekend

We had a pretty jam packed weekend last week.  On Saturday afternoon we made the last minute decision to accompany Big Red and his boys to Orlando for special trip to Bass Pro Shops then Seaworld on Sunday.  J had to leave for DC on Sunday evening so he had to pack his bags for a week.  It was a complete whirlwind of a trip but it was such fun.  I love being sponateous 🙂

Since my car is the only vehicle that could seat all seven of us, J got the honor of driving us all through the rain and lovebugs to O-town.

Big Red, who is never without snacks, brought a couple of teeny, tiny Slim Jims for himself and J.  I’m not much of a beef jerky girl so I passed on that little delight…

All of our luggage somehow fit in the itty bitty truck space I had behind the third row.

The little dudes and I kicked back to watch the movie, Avatar.  Before we knew it, we were at Bass Pro Shops!

T-bone has taken a real interest in fishing lately which pleases Big Red to no end.  T-bone wrote him a special note a while back requesting a trip to Bass Pro Shops to pick out his very own fishing pole.  Big Red was so excited to make T-bone’s wish come true.  It was really special to be along to watch their special moment.

All six of the men were in hog heaven at this store…  This kind of store isn’t really my thing so I spent my time laughing at all the silly fishing lure names displayed on all the packaging and taking pictures of the boys.  After every rod had been tested and every reel was inspected, we were finally able to leave the outdoor sportsman’s paradise.  Cutie Pie scored his first fishing rod along with T-bone.  They were over the moon!

We grabbed a yummy dinner at Carrabba’s then headed to the Hilton resort by Seaworld for the night.

We grabbed a quick breakfast at the hotel on Sunday morning and headed out to Seaworld.  Our hotel gave us complimentary quick queue passes for the rides so we didn’t have to wait very long for the rides or pay for things like the Sky Tower.  Wildman wanted to do the Sky Tower first thing so up we went.

The view was pretty awesome at the top of the tower.  I spotted all of the roller coasters I wanted to try.  J gets motion sick so he is never able to ride them with me.  Lucky for me, Big Red is a huge roller coaster fan and happily joined me on Manta (which we rode 5 times) and Kraken ( which we rode twice).  It was so awesome!!!

Feeding the dolphins was a fun experience for the kids.  Cutie Pie didn’t like it so much when one of them spit a huge stream of water in his face though!

Shark Encounter is always a hit too 🙂

No trip to Seaworld would be complete without a Shamu bar to beat the heat.

We left the park around 5 pm in order to drop J by the airport in time to make his flight to DC.  We were all completely exhausted and happy from the fun that we had together.  I’m looking forward to returning to Seaworld again soon since we have Fun Cards and we never actually saw a single show while we were there.  This trip was all about rides, rides and more rides!

Hot and Cold Stone

T-bone had two very different birthday parties last week.

One was well-planned, full of laughter, music and games.  It was a house party at Big Red’s.  There was an almost endless supply of food: appetizers, pizza, cake…  The lime sherbet and Sprite punch was an instant hit with both children and adults alike.  Conversation flowed effortlessly.  The children danced and played like it was their job.  Before we knew it, 4 hours had passed and the party was still going strong.  It was a Friday night and no one cared.  It was HOT!

The other party was a last minute affair set up more out of obligation than a desire to enjoy each others company.  Invitations were sent in the form of an impersonal mass text.  It was an ice cream party at our local Cold Stone.  The party was held late in the evening on a Tuesday (a school night) so it was a rushed affair.  No lingering when the event starts at 7 PM and bedtime is at 8 PM…  Steph chose this event to finally bring her boyfriend out of hiding.  I would say “introduce her boyfriend to me” but that was not the case.  He introduced himself and she ignored me for the first half hour of the party.  Tension was palpable among the adults.  It was COLD!

To be fair, the children (the exact same children that attended each party) had a good time at both events.  But the same could not be said for the adults.  My friend, B, Jon and I felt extremely uncomfortable at Cold Stone.

I haven’t really addressed the problems between myself and Steph here.  But it’s clear from her noticeable absence in my posts that we do not hang out anymore.  It’s an extremely complicated, drama-filled mess really.  At the heart of it is Steph’s relationship with her boyfriend.  I should call him a manfriend since he is a good 10 years older than both of her parents…  And, really, the 31-year age gap isn’t the problem.  It’s the lies surrounding their relationship that have made me see Steph in a completely different light.  I’m not sure I ever really knew her.

I’m in a tough situation because Steph is my family.  My mom is her aunt and her mom is my aunt.  They’re all- Steph, my mom and my aunt- divorced and somewhat bitter.  The women in my family are 100% in support of Steph and 100% opposed to Big Red even though there are some major, major ethical issues surrounding Steph’s relationship with the boyfriend.  Ethical issues that transcend my blind support just because she’s family.  I cannot do it.

Over time I have come to see Big Red’s side of things.  I wasn’t able to see his side for a very long time because I was so wrapped up in helping Steph.  As with any conflict, there are two sides.  I can’t tell you how bad I feel about simply believing the stuff Steph told me about Big Red and not finding out his story sooner.  But I trusted her.

Today, I am very thankful for knowing both sides of their story.  Neither party is blameless, of course, but neither is Big Red the monster that he was made out to be…  Because I am still friends with Big Red, I have become kind of an outcast from the women in my family.  They want me to fall in line with the man-hating and blind support of one another because we’re family.  That’s simply not enough for me.  I don’t get to choose my family, unfortunately, but I do get to choose who is in my life.  Because I have chosen not to play games, perpetuate lies and shun Big Red, I, in turn, have been shunned.

To be honest, it’s never felt better.

I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.  I don’t have toxic people surrounding me much anymore.  Life is pretty sweet out here on the fringe.  That’s what I call where I am today- the fringe.  I don’t have to deal with the emotionally draining, self-centered crap that used to take it’s toll on me.  I have chosen to be happy and things are so good right now!

I hope this helps to clarify some of the problems that have been going on in the background.  I surely cannot go into too much detail but just know that I am in a much better place now.  My husband and kids are too because I am a happier person.

If the only thing I have to deal with is the occasional awkward birthday party or holiday, I can manage.  The people I’ve chosen to surround myself with these days build me up so that I can handle pretty much anything that comes my way.

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