Friday, November 28, 2008

Skipping Black Friday

So for the first time in nearly a decade I (Fred) found myself asleep at 5am on the day after Thanksgiving.

You see, I've been out at that ungodly hour every Black Friday for nearly a decade. But not today.

Why have I been such a long-running, willing participant in the unbridled consumerism? Mostly because I've enjoyed the spectacle of it all. You never know what you'll see on Black Friday- but chances are you'll see something good. Of course, grabbing a great deal never hurt either.

So why did I skip today? To make a statement about all of the commercialism? No- although I agree things are out of control. Because of fears about where the economy is headed? Maybe a little.

Mostly I didn't go out today because we don't need anything. And at the moment I'm on a "Don't buy anything you don't need" kick.

And we're going to have a lower key Christmas this year.

And I figured I could use the sleep. Which felt great by the way.

So how about you. Did you shop today?

If so, did you see any interesting? Get any great deals?

If not, why not?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Vacation Update 5- Meeting the Mouse

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this. We spent the last week of vacation with my folks and I didn't have access to wifi. In addition to enjoying my family's company, one of the highlights of our time in Kissimmee was spending a day at Disney.

Originally, we were going to wait until the kids were both a bit older to take them for the first time. But we caved- figuring that Addy was old enough (4 years, 4 mos) to enjoy it and that Colston would at least get in free at his age (19 mos). As it turned out, we all got in free- thanks to a generous family member of a family member. And both kids had a great time. Colston was a bit grumpy due to a truncated nap, but I've seen him worse for the wear after spending a day at home.

Having grown up in Kissimmee and Orlando, I've been to Disney more times that I can remember. I thought that going with my kids would be a bit more memorable. I was wrong. It was magical.

Not only was it incredible to watch Addy light up as she saw the park, rode the rides and met the characters- but as a parent I really appreciated the effort Disney has put in to make it a great experience for families. Every cast member we encountered was polite, and many made an extra effort to help us have a great experience. There were plenty of healthy food choices for kids- and the meals were reasonably priced. For example, an individual kid's pizza with milk, grapes and applesauce was under $5. We pay more for less around town.

As you'd expect, Disney keeps the place looking immaculate. But they've also updated things as well. From the fingerprint scanners that link you to your ticket at the front turnstiles, to the Johnny Depp additions to Pirates of the Caribbean ride, to the changes to Tomorrowland that drug it out of the 70's- Disney looked and felt fresh to me.

I think we picked a fairly good time to go. The longest line we waited in all day was about 10 mins long. In all we fit in 13 rides/attractions, saw 2 parades and watched the fireworks. And we took our time. I'm not sure we'd have had nearly as pleasurable an experience if we had to endure significant heat or crowds. But the day was nearly perfect for us.

Here are some pics. I've uploaded more on Facebook, so take a peek there too.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Vacation Update 4

Today we undertook one of the most trying activities for an extended family- the family portrait.

6 adults and 4 kids (ages 4 mos, 19 mos, 2 yrs 9 mos & 4 yrs 4 mos) got dressed up, waited an extra 20 minutes for our appointment and somehow got everyone still enough at the same time to take a few good shots. All in all the whole ordeal lasted an hour and a half.

Whew- that's over. At least for another year.

Here are a few of the results:

Friday, November 14, 2008

Vacation Update 3

Yesterday we hooked up with our family from TN and hit the zoo.

It was hot (85 and humid) but most of the animals were still pretty active.  

The highlights included feeding a huge giraffe by hand, touching sting rays and seeing penguins and manatees.

Today we're taking it easy and hanging around the house.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Vacation Update 2

Spent some time at a great park yesterday. Took advantage of the wind to fly a kite. Hit the playground, had a picnic lunch and did some general frolicking.

Last night we got to have dinner with Matt, Charee & our nieces Sullivan & Isley.

Today we bumped around the zoo.

Pics of that maybe tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Vacation Update 1

Jen, Addy, Judy & Colston spent some time working with play dough last night.

There's nothing like new, unsoiled play dough right out of the container is there?  Yeah, we go all out on vacations in the Turner household.

Here are a few of Addy's creations:

Just in case you aren't used to this level of artistic interpretation- that's a parrot just above.

More updates to come.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Sorry to take so long, but here are a few pics from all hallows eve. This was Colston's first ever go at Trick or Treating. He marched right up to our neighbor's doors and helped himself when they held the bowl to his level and invited him to take some. A week later I don't think he's eaten any of the candy, but he carried it around in his pumpkin for days afterwards. Good times.

We're starting a family vacation tomorrow, so I'm not sure how much I'll be posting.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fun With...

Wikki Stix.