Saturday, July 9, 2011

On our way to where the air is sweet.

Monday was Sesame Place day. I have always wanted to meet Count Von Count, even before everyone was on this vampire crazy train. I like a monster with sharp teeth and mad math skillz.

We stayed at the Philadelphia Historic District Holiday Inn. While it was a very nice hotel, I noticed immediate differences between a Holiday Inn and a Holiday Inn Express; at a Holiday Inn Express, you get free breakfast, larger rooms, and a fridge to keep your beer cold. At a Holiday Inn, you don't get any of that but you get to pay more.

Since we didn't want to pay for hotel restaurant breakfast, we decided to stop at a Target on the way to Sesame Place and pick up some Pop Tarts. I had found a Target gift card from 2008 in our junk drawer the day before we left, along with $110 in cash, an Applebee's gift card, and two cell phones from 2007 that still had charge left in the battery.

I've got epic junk drawers.

Now, this may come as a shock to most of you, but I am now the owner of a phone that does not require me to push the number 4 five times to text "Hi." I decided to use this new phone's navigation feature to get us to a Target, so we could use the three-year-old gift card.

Interestingly enough, it told us to get off on the exit where there was clearly a Target, then get back on the highway in the opposite direction, where it proudly announced in its female robot voice, "You have arrived."

Did I mention we were literally in the middle of nowhere?

(Maybe she just really wanted to tell us how successful she thinks we are.)

We did find our way to Target eventually and Mom of the Year made sure my family had a healthy untoasted toaster pastry breakfast. After that, it was Sesame time.

The park was full on account of it being the 4th of July. I saw lots of interesting people that I had heard about in movies and books, like those from New Jersey.

We were pretty sweaty in the dry part of the park and were anxious to get into the air conditioned character lunch. Natalie, Daniel, and Eve had made pictures of cookies for Cookie Monster and were excited to give them to him. He seemed excited to get them. I could tell, because he had the crazy eyes.

Count Von Count popped into Matt's seat when he got up and started eating his lunch. We were all surprised he went for the Caesar salad. I pegged him as a rare steak kind of guy, myself.

Abby Cadabby kept coming over to visit. I think she felt bad after accidentally knocking Eve over, although Eve was very excited it happened. I imagine I'd feel the same way if Johnny Depp knocked me down, even if he did it with malicious intent. Because I'd take whatever kind of Johnny Depp I could get.

Daniel was a little bit excited to meet Elmo.

I think he knows these characters aren't real, but I am pretty sure he doesn't understand that there are real people inside. I say this, because his high fives turn into punches and kicks, and all of a sudden I'm the mom of the crazy kid who is wailing on Elmo and friends.

Matt says the lamest job in Sesame Place is the poor person who has to try to sell the $20 pictures of your children standing with Elmo. Especially since all the parents are standing next to the photographer taking their own pictures. This is what she tried to sell me:

But the picture was already on my digital camera.

Eve loves Big Bird. I can tell she was really excited, because when she gets really excited, you can see it in her pigtails.

After lunch, we headed to the water rides. I think the water park was filled with salt water. Either that, or there were a bunch of hot, sweaty people dripping in the wave pool.

Even though we were there on a busy day, we still only had to wait in a long line once, and even then it was only about 20 minutes. Now, Eve is terrified of any ride with a thrill rating higher than "no thrill." So this is why we didn't tell her we were going on the giant family raft ride that goes down the very steep waterfall. That would have been a very long 20 minutes in line.

She kind of figured it out by the time we were getting into the large raft, though. But, Matt held onto her tight even though she was screaming I don't want to do this! at the top of her lungs.

Eve totally liked it. I could tell, because she threw her arms up in the air and said, "I like it!"

But then we got to the part near the end, where the attendant has to push your raft over the waterfall. Matt told her he was going to spin our raft, which made the crazy switch flip in Eve's head. "I don't want to spin! I DON'T WANT TO SPIN!"

More tears. But it was okay, because it was a salt water pool.

I must admit that the drop was a lot steeper than it appeared in line. I think our rears all lifted off the ground before we went over. Matt said something out loud that he probably should have spelled.

She told us that she liked the beginning of the ride, but "the end is not fun for me."

I'm sure I could have turned that into some kind of life lesson, but we just decided to go into the splash park and let the kids go nuts.

For dinner, we got hot dogs, which I've been told cause cancer. If one of us does come down with cancer again, we can pinpoint the week it happened, because this would be the trip of all you can eat hot dogs. Because tubular meats rock!

And because they're not exactly selling poached chicken at the theme park.

The guy who sold us 5 hot dogs, 4 bags of chips, and 5 drinks for $38 could not believe we were paying that much for 5 hot dogs, 4 bags of chips, and 5 drinks. I know this because he said so. Like we had a choice. "Man, you could go into the grocery store with a five-dollar bill and buy yourself a pack of 8 hot dogs and a pack of buns and still have money leftover to buy chips!"

But I let it slide because I was convinced he was Cee Lo Green and Cee Lo can sell me however many hot dogs for however much money he likes.

We told the kids they were allowed to buy one souvenir from each park we visited, but we would wait until the end of the day so we didn't have to carry the souvenirs around. Which just made Daniel want the day to be over.

"Are we leaving yet?"
"Can we leave now?"
Aren't you having fun?
"Yes. But I want to leave so I can get my souvenir."
We're not leaving now.
"Ok. How about now?"

After about ten of those conversations, we caved and bought souvenirs early before riding some more rides. Eve and Matt stuck with the low-thrill category while Nat, Dan, and I went for the big thrill roller coaster. Which was surprisingly a lot more thrilling than you would expect from a ride named after Super Grover.

The attractions all closed by 9 p.m., and then the parade started. I preferred this parade to the Disney parades because it was short and sweet, and I was hot and sticky.

I saw more of these people from "New Jersey" that were either kicked off of the Real World, Jersey Shore, or Real Housewives for being too crass. Maybe they had more patience at the beginning of the day.

"You're pissing me off! I have two rules for you: stop crying or go home." I didn't want to intervene and explain to her that this was more of an option and less like two separate rules.

"Stop crying like a pansy little girl!" Well, in his son's defense, four-year-old boys haven't really developed that much-desired baritone sob just yet.

Anyway, looks like I'm still in the running for Mom of the Year.

The fireworks followed at 9:30, and they were by far my most favorite fireworks to date. The show was choreographed to Sesame Street music, and it was pretty sweet to see an entire display of nothing but green fireworks while Kermit sings It's Not Easy Being Green.

Green is my favorite color. Except when I'm turning green from too many spinny rides.

We didn't expect to stay until closing, but we did. I think the kids were worn out.

Just a little.

Is this what it takes to get them all to pass out at the same time? Elmo, you're my new best friend.

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