Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Children of the Corn Syrup

After all the excitement of Chocolate World (singing cows!), the Griffiths headed to Maryland to visit my parents. It's July. We ain't got nothing to do but be on vacation.

Well, except Matt. He had to go back to work.

(To pay for our vacation.)

On Saturday, my cousin and his new wife came to town and we had a family dinner. I enjoy shrimp dinners where I can eat with my hands. I believe it makes a fine first impression. My kids didn't even make the new wife reconsider her plans to have children, so points for me. Either they were well-behaved, or we had some good wine. Or maybe it was a little of both.

I accompanied my dad as he drove them back to their hotel in D.C. and we did a 1 a.m. tour of the monuments. Also seen were street fights, hookers, and unsavory characters trying to walk through the McDonald's drive thru. But really, the city at night is beautiful.

On Sunday, we said goodbye to Matt and he went on his merry way to the greater-Raleigh area. Did I mention he got the house to himself for a whole week? I have a don't ask, don't tell policy. I don't even want to know what happened when I was gone, as long as the shower is always this clean when I return.

Sunday night we dined on crabs. Thems my favorite. I would go into more detail but it's just too painful to talk about. I miss them so much.

On Monday, my parents took us to the Air and Space Museum. This was my absolute favorite museum growing up. I don't know if it was the old Willard Scott movie projected onto the wall with the giant carnations on his lapel or if was the moon rock you could touch at the entrance that I swear I saw Nate H. smear his booger on in the fourth grade, but I have lots of fond memories of the place.

It was neat to see things from my kids perspective.

"Mom, that is the BIGGEST trashcan I've ever seen!"

Just wait until it starts shooting fire out at your face and ascends into space.

There was so much I vividly remembered, and yet I had no idea there was an art gallery inside the museum. This one reminds me of MTV, back when it played music videos and wasn't filled with the creme de la douche of the Tri-State area.

I like this picture. It's like Grandpa Bueller with baby Ferris.

And I still can't believe someone painted that. I was fooled to the max.

Eve enjoyed flying a helicopter to nowhere.

Daniel said he wasn't going to smile if my dad was going to take his picture. I had to put on my stern face and tell him he better smile on his flight to nowhere.

I tried to poke him with my mean finger but the plexiglass was in my way.

"I'm having fun flying on this helicopter to nowhere, I promise, Mommy!"

Now there are two must-do's when you go to the Air and Space Museum. The first is to see:

Why is this a must-do? Well, we did it every year on school field trips so I think you should, too. It's older than I am, but it's probably my favorite IMAX movie, ever. Eve actually thought she was flying. Flying! FLYING!!!

Her excitement kind of crescendoed like that in the theater. I could tell because she said, "I'm flying. I'm flying! Momma, I'M FLYING!" And then she stood up and checked under the seats to figure out just how we were flying and tried to compute how large this dark hot air balloon must be in real life.

The second must-do at the museum is scoring some astronaut ice cream. It's not very pleasing to the mouth, but you just gotta do it. Now, if they could figure out freeze-dried beer, that would be something worth paying $5 a pack for.

While in the gift shop procuring said ice cream, I was on the search for a pen. A Wright Brothers pen that I would get every year on my field trips, to be exact. There is liquid in the top and as you move the pen up and down, the airplane would move forward and back. I found pens like it, but not with airplanes. They had spaceships.

Did you find everything you were looking for today?
"Do you have a pen like this, but with the Wright Brothers airplane?"
Umm...I don't believe I've ever seen that.
"But I used to get one here every year as a kid!"
We change out our inventory every once in a while.
"You should bring back that pen."

I settled for the spaceship pen. It's growing on me, I guess.

Wow, after re-reading all that, I kind of sound like a nerd. Pens! Fist pump!

That evening when we got back to my parents' house, I tried to make use of the twelve-pound zucchini a friend had brought over. I wanted to pull it out of the back of my shirt and say, "By the power of Grayskull!"

That gourd would go on to make 20 zucchini fritters and 10 loaves of zucchini bread, with some leftover.

Tuesday, it was just me and the kids, so after finding random tokens in the house, I decided to take them to Chuck E. Cheese. I feel obligated to do it when we are at my parents house, because I may or may not have led my children to believe the only Chuck E. Cheese is in Waldorf, Maryland.

Eve got wild with the Teletubbies. It's like a slow-moving rollercoaster that doesn't have any hills or do anything exciting.

Daniel likes to hit things with sticks, so this was a good match for him.

Natalie is better at every game than I am.

Except Skee-ball, which both she and Daniel failed at in epic proportions. I loathe young kids playing Skee-ball, but they put their token in before I could stop them. How do you play this game, Mommy? Well, you roll the ball up just like this. Like this? No, not at all like that.

It's amazing how good a pitch Dan has when he throws a weighted ball over hand so it ricochets off the fiberglass and narrowly avoids my head.

Ooh, mascot sighting, by the ticket counter!

Eve is still deciding how much crap she's going to get with all her tickets. Turns out, for 210 tickets, you can get one crappy foam rocket launcher, one crazy straw, one box of Nerds, and nine packs of Smarties.


Wednesday was declared "Watch cartoons on cable" day, but since I have to do something special with the kids everyday on vacation, I took them for their first Slurpees. Exciting, I know!

That wasn't sarcasm. I'm completely serious. I -heart- Slurpees.

Man, I miss 7-Eleven. When I type in our zip code in their store finder, the closest location is in Chesapeake, Virginia, 201.07 miles from my home. I could be convinced to make the trek under the right conditions.

And because we were already out at the 7-Eleven, we popped into the grocery store next door to pick up some milk. Even though I knew the sky was going to open up and unleash its dark, wet fury onto our heads. "It will be storming when we get back outside, kids, but it will be fun and we'll get soaked, like Hershey Park!"

The grocery store blew us all away. The shopping cart had a TELEVISION inside the kiddie compartment. Let me repeat that: the shopping cart had a TELEVISION inside the kiddie compartment. And I could push a button on my screen up top and pick different shows for my children to watch on the TELEVISION inside the kiddie compartment.

This ain't small potatoes.

The town of Waldorf that we moved to when I was four had only a K-Mart and a Peebles for shopping and a Bob's Big Boy for dining. Now they've got a Cracker Barrel and a grocery store with TELEVISIONS inside the shopping carts.

And yeah, after we geeked out over that, we bought the milk and got soaked in the middle of the thunderstorm.

It was okay, though. I've been having hot flashes since I had Natalie, so I kept the wet clothes on for a couple of hours to keep me cool. It helped turn them into warm flashes.

Thursday was awesome. Seriously, like the awesomest. Ever. We went on a pirate adventure.

I know, right?!?

We got up early and reached Annapolis by 9, which turned out to be the perfect time for cruising on the Chesapeake in the middle of July. Sunny, breezy, albeit too early for a cocktail, perfection.

You know, I never knew pirates were good at sharing, but they were really good about letting my children go through their clothes. They got tattoos and face paintings and official pirate names.

Pictured below are Enchanted Eve, Notorious Nat, and Daring Dan.

Enchanted Eve said she just wanted to go find some mermaids to talk to. I guess she needs a new confidant, preferably one with legs. Will get on that once we're back on land.

The nefarious Pirate Pete was just lounging in his boat until we approached with water cannons. That's right, water cannons. Just like they used on the Black Pearl.

Daniel swears that it was Natalie's cannon that knocked him into the Chesapeake.

Scallywag. Heh heh.
After consulting the map, the pirates found the floating X and pulled up the treasure chest. Lots of booty to share. Pirates are good at sharing and caring.

They even found some of Pirate Pete's grog in the bay. I let mine have some because I figured they might nap on the way back to Waldorf.

But it turns out the grog was of the virgin variety and full of enough sugar to make Daring Dan want to give someone a real reason to wear an eye patch.

Back in Waldorf, we went out to Ledo Pizza, my favorite pizza of all time. This picture is making me awfully hungry, but these are the things I do for you.

Stop rubbing it in my face, Eve.

I had more to write, but I'm going look up how many 7-Elevens I can hit on my way to the closest Ledo Pizza in Maryland.


  1. We seriously led parallel childhoods!! I too, grew up going to all the DC museums and have vivid memories of all. My parents lived a few blocks from Air & Space for the past 5 years. My kids and I spent our afternoons there dozens of times. I heart DC!

    And don't get me started on the slurpees! Grew up on them. My sister and I had one between our house and our high school. I am proud to say we memorized their flavor rotation :) In DC my parents had one between their house and the metro. After walking 2 blocks with 2 young children slurpees are definitely needed to walk the next 2- both ways! It is still one of the first things we do when we cross the border into VA.

    And the crabs, and the Ledo's, and the Chesapeake bay- aaww! Love! So glad you had such a great vacation. Now the C.E.C. we never went to because my parents told us the only one was in PA where our grandparents lived ;)

  2. I have never commented but I found you a few years ago when Eve was first diagnosed and linked to here. You have a very fun writing style!
    Anyway, I grew up in Bowie and later moved to Crofton (now here in Holly Springs, NC). I SO miss crabs, was just talking about that the other day. The only Chuck E Cheese that we went to was the one in Annapolis. My son still laments about missing 7-11's hot chocolate (apparently the best out there, yes, he's a hot chocolate expert). And LOVED all the DC monuments, museums, etc. Make sure you hit up the new Air & Space Museum out near Dulles. Ledo's is my FAVORITE pizza too! Ugh, now I'm "homesick". :-) Thanks for the fun post!

  3. I miss slurpees too! I used the 7-11 store locator on July 11th (free slurpee day), thinking I would share with my daughter a taste of my childhood. Closest one to me is 65.39 miles.