coffee cup image

Archive for April, 2012

Apr 27 2012

Visiting The Tribe

Posted by Mugs @ 12:26 pm in Family,school,Sightseeing

Dale, Josiah, and I conducted college visit #6 last weekend. We went to the college of William and Mary. It is the second oldest college in the US. (Harvard is first.) While UVA can claim Thomas Jefferson as their founder, William and Mary claims Thomas Jefferson as a student. Prior to our college search process, Dale and I thought William and Mary was a private school.

William and Mary (W&M) is a beautiful place. It is located adjacent to historic downtown Williamsburg and the old brick buildings and cobblestone walkways transport you to a time long ago. It has beautiful grounds with large old trees and lawns. The buildings are old brick on the outside, but many are nicely renovated on the inside.

The Sadler building on campus housed a pleasant dining hall and a number of fun lounge areas to hang out in. One lounge area had pool, air hockey, and foosball tables along with a skeeball machine. I was quite impressed with the skeeball machine. Here I am walking around a historic campus, and all I can think is “Wow! They got a skeeball machine!”

One lounge area had a stage for student musicians to set up on and entertain the crowd. There was a piano on it, so Dale told Josiah to put out a hat and start playing.

We were shown inside an academic building but not a classroom and a dorm building but not a dorm room. The dorms were not as decrepit as UVA or as nice as CNU. At W&M there are not enough dorm rooms for all the students. After freshman year, getting housing is similar to being on an overbooked flight waiting to see if you get bumped.

Our tour guide told us of the great lengths she went to guarantee a place to live. After freshman year, she signed up for a language immersion dorm in which all the students who live in the dorm communicate in Chinese. (She was of Chinese heritage.) The College has Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish dorms also. For Junior and Senior year, she joined a sorority. All sorority and fraternity housing is on campus. I have always wondered why people join sororities and fraternities. This was the first time someone told me it was to guarantee she’d have a place to live.

The library has massage chairs for all the stressed out double majoring students. Achievement is a primary focus at the college.

Because of this striving for achievement, there are some once in a lifetime opportunities at W&M. One program allows you to study two years at William and Mary and two years at Saint Andrews in Scotland. Each year, twenty students are accepted into the program in the areas of economics, history, international relations, and English. The students who complete the program graduate with a diploma from both universities.

The W&M mascot is now a griffin (mythical creature with the body of a lion: King William’s coat of arms, and the head of an eagle: US national bird) W&M used to have a Native American mascot, but the NCAA ruled that all colleges had to change mascots that may be considered offensive to Native Americans. However,  the students still refer to themselves as the tribe.

Thankfully, during our tour, we heard no stories of secret societies with hooded robes or pitchforks. The most amusing tale concerned the bridge across the pond on campus. It involves many tales not to be believed. “If you walk across it alone, you will remain unmarried for life.” “If you walk across it with friends, you will be friends for life.” “If you kiss someone while standing on the bridge, you will marry that person.”

This, of course, brought up the subject of what counter actions a girl had to take if she decided afterwards not to marry the guy. Our tour guide suggested the girl would have to throw the guy off the bridge. Dale suggested that if a guy was stuck in a “kissing on the bridge destiny” that he wanted to escape, he should jump from the bridge and swim to freedom with the turtles.

 

 

Apr 23 2012

Egg Hunt on the Run

Posted by Mugs @ 1:08 pm in Family

Zeke once again went to the egg hunt, and I once again briefed him on egg hunt strategy, and (I suspect) Dines will once again mock me for my intensive parenting.

However, I felt slightly justified at the egg hunt when upon finishing my briefing, I heard a mother say to her son, “Don’t get stuck on the play place like your sister. She ran up there and couldn’t get down. She didn’t get hardly any eggs.”

Step 1: Always run to the back…

Zeke and Bunny

Zeke and Bunny

Apr 23 2012

Fun to Run

Posted by Mugs @ 12:50 pm in Family,school

Last month, Gabe and Zeke ran the annual fun run to raise money for their school. They had to run 35 laps each. After each lap, a teacher marked the lap number off on the back of their shirt. With so many kids running and such a small area to run in, the lap marking got a bit confusing. However, Zeke and Gabe were not deterred, they just kept running, well past their 35 laps.

The willingness to run those extra laps was certainly not a trait they inherited from me.

 

Apr 20 2012

Angry Bird

Posted by Mugs @ 1:04 pm in Nature,Pets

For the last month, our house has been under attack from an angry bird. Sometimes it attacks the living room window. Sometimes it attacks the sun room window.

Meanwhile, Patches and Shadow sit, watch, and dream of a good meal.

Apr 19 2012

Mickey Mouse excuse at Harry Potter World

Posted by Mugs @ 1:38 pm in Family,Sightseeing

Our last day of adventure in Florida was in Orlando. Dale and Zeke spent the day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Dale took 3 pictures of Zeke with his phone: Zeke eating lunch, Zeke eating dinner, and Zeke watching the Monster’s Inc. laugh floor. We have no photos with a castle or a Disney character to show you. You’ll just have to trust us. Zeke went to Disney.

Being no fan of giant spinning rides, Dale chose Disney with Zeke instead of Universal with Josiah, Abby , and Gabe. He thought it would be the easier go. Zeke had other plans. Dale spent the day crisscrossing the park here, there, and back again, because Zeke had lots of rides to cross off his list.  Zeke went on the “must rides”: peter pan’s flight, dumbo, and buzz lightyear, and even ventured onto the “must not ride”: snow white’s scary adventure.

Snow White’s Scary Adventure was the bane of our trip to Disney when Josiah and Abby were 5 and 6. They cried and cried and cried on that ride and cried and cried and cried after we got off that ride. They did not calm down until after It’s a Small World worked its hypnotic magic.

Zeke, wanting to prove his toughness, endured it without a tear. Dale was thankful Zeke made it through without the It’s a Small World follow up.

Zeke’s favorite show was the Monster’s Inc. laugh floor. He watched the show 3 times.

Dale survived the day and into the night. They left the park only shortly before we left Universal.

Meanwhile, I was with the other kids at Universal Islands of Adventure. The primary reason for our day at Universal was to go see Harry Potter World. As soon as the park opened, we jogged back to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. Seeing the places described in the books was a lot of fun. Hogwarts castle looked terrific and Hogsmeade was terrifically detailed.

We went on the three rides first. The forbidden journey ride through the castle had amazing special effects from the movies, but it was the spiders that made Abby scream. She was fine with the quidditch match, the whomping willow, the dragon and the dementors, but the spiders were just too much. Admittedly, they were large and ugly, not sure if they were scream worthy.

The dragon challenge was a large looping roller coaster (Josiah’s type of ride) and the flight of the hippogriff was a small roller coaster (My type of ride). I like small roller coasters that threaten to toss you off the edge or drop you out the bottom. I do not like to go upside down and around and around, banging my head against the bars.

After the rides, we went to eat lunch. It was 1030 am. I figured it was the only time we would make it into the restaurant. Gabe had fish and chips, Abby and Josiah had shepherd’s pie, and I had pasties (I couldn’t believe my luck). We all drank frozen butterbeer which tastes like butterscotch and is quite delicious.

In Harry Potter world, all the shops are packed with people. Outside some shops, you have to wait in line just to get in. The shop I liked the best was the Owl Post. The kids bought post cards with owl post stamps and the clerk stamped them from Hogsmeade.

There were marauders map t-shirts, slytherin robes, hufflepuff mittens, ravenclaw bags, and gryffindor scarfs. You could purchase sirius black’s wand, fluffy the three headed dog as a stuffed animal, and a sorting hat. The shops were full of things to make you laugh and things to make you cringe. Even moaning myrtle was in the bathroom.

Once we had seen most of Harry Potter World, we wandered around the other parts of Universal to escape the crowd. I loved Seuss landing, especially the Cat in the Hat ride. Gabe and I ate green eggs and ham for dinner. The most popular t-shirts said Thing 1 and Thing 2. I was tempted to buy Dale a Seuss t-shirt that read “Father of all Things.”

Josiah loved the Marvel section of the park, and I hated it. It was a loud and hot concrete cityscape. We all went on the Spiderman ride, but I sat out the Hulk and the fearfall. By the time we got to the storm force acceleration, even Abby and Gabe sat out. Josiah went on it by himself and spun himself silly.

The animated dinosaurs on the Jurassic Park ride were pretty impressive. Josiah was so fascinated staring at the big t-rex that he failed to notice we were about to plummet down the waterfall. It was the only time I heard him scream for real all day.

In Toontown, we stood in the line for the raft ride for 5 minutes before it experienced technical difficulties and shut down. We walked back out staring at the poor people stuck in the rafts partway through the ride. We got drenched on Dudley Do Right’s Ripsaw Falls which turned out to be quite a fun ride after a 65 minute long claustrophobic wait. I was sad to discover none of my children had ever heard of Dudley Do Right and Snidely Whiplash. Oh the laughs they’ve missed.

Toontown also brought us the only good show of the day: A skateboard, bmx, motorcycle stunt show. Watching two motorcycles race around the interior of the metal globe is such a fascinating sight to me.

Our biggest waste of time was the sinbad stunt show. It was dreadful.

As time ran out, I told Josiah, Abby, and Gabe they could run ahead of me and ride Harry Potter’s forbidden journey using the single rider line one last time. Meanwhile I purchased some chocolate frogs from Honeydukes and Bertie Botts every flavored beans: one tasted like earwax, another tasted like soap. Gabe ate them both. I also bought 2 more butterbeers to go. One of the longest lines in the park is for the butterbeer stand in the middle of the street. Everyone stands in it and waits. Meanwhile, you can walk into the three broomsticks or the Hog’s Head pub and purchase it much quicker. I didn’t tell anyone this as I appreciated my short line.

Then, I sat outside the pub listening to the shrieking mandrakes in the shop window next door and waited for the kids to return. We needed to get back to the front of the park in order to catch the bus back to the hotel. Abby arrived and Gabe followed soon after. Then we waited and waited some more. The likelihood of us making the bus grew dimmer and dimmer as there was no sign of Josiah. I immediately began to fret. “Did he forget where we were supposed to meet? Did he lose his glasses on the ride? Where could he be?”

Eventually he ran up to us, much too late for us to catch the bus. “What happened?” I asked.

“When we finished the ride. No one else was there to get on. She asked if we wanted to go again, so I said yes. You can’t pass up a free ride.” he said.