Thursday, January 31, 2013

My weird friends

A friend was recently forced to renovate a bathroom in her home.  Understandably, she took the opportunity to put some style into the renovation. My friend's style is fairly conservative, so when she referred to the soon to be renovated room as the Liberace room, I naively thought she had chosen some wild color.  To be fair, my friend gave me many clues, including the use of the word "wallpaper", but as I am a visual person, I couldn't really see past some weird purple color.

This is an "in progress" photo she sent me:
Liberace would be proud

The following is the conversation that ensued:

Me:  Ummm, that's a whole lotta look.
Friend:  Lol...What other room could we get away with doing that in?
Me:  Maybe it's better in person.
Friend:  Probably not.  It's a little bit metallic and very ostentatious.  That's why I call it my Liberace bathroom.  We are going to get a white corner cabinet to fill up some of the space.  I have a candelabra I can put on top.
Me:  Who even says candelabra any more?
Friend:  What else would you call it?
Me:  I would call it "Not in my house".

For those interested, my friend is charging a mere $5 to tour the Liberace/seizure inducing bathroom, so if you happen to visit Jacksonville, FL, be sure to give her a ring.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mini Me

It's no secret to anybody that KIC is a near perfect physical replica of her dad and a near perfect attitude replica of me.  It was clear from the womb (!!!!) who she was going to favor (though he tried to make me feel better by denying it until she was three months old).  I mean, friends and family could see who she would favor physically!  Most people look at ultrasound pictures and go "Oh, hey, that's a really cute...blob."  My friend Terri, being the astute woman she is, said to me, after seeing the ultrasound picture "She's going to look like Brent, but you know she is going to be just like you, right?"  And she was right.  It doesn't make the "mirror moments" any less shocking, however. 

Once such moment caused me to laugh so loud, I embarassed my soon to be teenager.  I plan to practice all the mom mortification moments I can between now and the time she has her own teenage daughter.


KIC has just finished her swim lesson and has to go to the bathroom, as one does after swim.  She comes out of the stall, struggling to pull up her swim bottoms. 

Me:  KIC, you don't have to pull those up.
KIC:  I don't?
Me:  No, you're just going to change into dry clothes anyway.
KIC (with a sly, sideways glance and a big grin):  Amen, to that brother!
Me (raucous laughter reverberating around the locker room)
KIC:  MOM!!!!  You're too loud!

If she thinks I'm loud now, wait until she has to walk across the stage for some school achievement!  That'll show her!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Disney Wrap Up

Well, we're back and unpacked from our fabulous Disney vacation.  It was definitely tough to return to reality after being spoiled for five straight days.  I am still dreaming about my scallop and shrimp pastry from Be Our Guest and K is still walking around regally (side note:  her princess hair lasted three days until I insisted it finally be washed!  Even then, some of the shape was retained until her swim lesson!)

I wanted to make a list of stuff I found helpful while at Disney.  I am doing it mostly for my own memory retention (mind like a sieve these days) but would be happy if they helped others as well.

1.  Book now!  I can't stress this enough.  Disney is more popular than you could EVER anticipate.  Ever.  If there's an event you heard about and you think you want to try it, book it now.  It is FAR easier to cancel than it is to get a reservation at the last minute.  On our last day at Disney, we met a college student who was working at Disney as a part of a program her school offered.  She was taking her day off to explore Disney and would continue to do so through her tenure.  I told her she should go to Be Our Guest while she was there and she said it was all booked through the time she would be leaving to go home.  Will it ruin your vacation if you can't go to the Princess Dinner?  Absolutely not and if you're a take it as a comes and if it works then great kind of person, then there are a TON of other options you can take advantage of.  But if you, or your kid, have your heart set on a particular experience, dining or not, make a reservation!

2.  Use FastPass!  A FastPass is a voucher to come back to a ride during a specific timeframe.  It allows you to skip ridiculously long lines but still have the opportunity to ride the attraction.  During the month of January, especially the middle of January, the park attendance isn't as high as it is when school is out.  However, some of the more popular rides, and newer rides, can have significant wait times.  Getting a FastPass gave you the opportunity to get the ticket, go eat, or shop, or ride an attraction with a much smaller wait time and come back.  You can reduce your mental stress and physical stress (from standing in line).  You get to maximize your fun!  It doesn't get much better.  If you do take advantage of a FastPass, I would definitely not suggest going back at the very beginning of the FastPass time frame as you'll hit the line of people who were smart like you.  ;-)

3.  Take advantage of technology  Disney has an app, on the iPhone for sure and presumably on the Android, that is like an interactive map of the park.  We still picked up the traditional maps at the park entrance, but the app tells you what attractions, characters and dining is near you at the very moment.  It also gives you wait times and for the characters, viewing times, so you can coordinate your activities with maximum efficiency.  The reality is, you could probably spend a week during the slower seasons at the Magic Kingdom and STILL not see/experience everything.  However, you can use the app to help prioritize and plan accordingly.  It's a free app and works for all of the major parks.  It helped us many times.

4.  Character secrets.  So, there's only a certain amount of time each character cast member can do their meet and greets.  If you're standing in line and they say, "Buzz Lightyear is going to go check something at star command and come back", don't abandon ship.  Having heard about it, and witnessed it, Buzz comes back within 15 minutes.  Now, if you hear Sulley has to check something on the scare floor but Mike will be right back and you really wanted a picture with Sulley (true story), THEN you should abandon ship.  The character coordinators will be happy to tell you when Sulley is coming back. 

5.  Kid essentials
  1. Snacks, snacks and more snacks.  Again, something I can't stress enough.  When you're waiting in line and your kid is hungry, you can whip something out of your bag saving yourself a ton of money (and time locating said snacks). 
  2. Sunscreen.  Even in the winter, the sun is shining.  (except the last two days we were there.  Thanks a lot, Florida!).  You can buy it at the park, but you can be guaranteed it will be expensive. 
  3. Camera.  We discovered KIC liked taking her own pictures.  To preserve Daddy's camera, we got KIC a disposable camera of her very own.  We nearly had to take out a second mortgage to cover the cost, so I highly recommend taking a disposable camera for your kids.  If the pictures don't turn out, no harm no foul, but they can at least try to preserve memories in there way and reduce the risk to your fancy camera.
  4. Sunglasses.  Oh my, the glare on sunny days.  The same day we purchased a camera for KIC, we purchased sunglasses as well.  While her sunglasses are adorable, not sure they were worth the cost. 
6.  Extra magic hours.  To put it simply, this was magical the ONE day we took advantage of it.  Guests staying at Disney resorts have the opportunity to take advantage of extra magic hours.  What this means is, on designated days, you can get to the park either an hour early or leave an hour later, as scheduled by Disney.  On the day we took advantage, the sheer amount of stuff we were able to cram in one hour would have taken us at least two or three hours on a normal day.  Definitely worth getting up early!

7.  Take your own pictures!  With many of the character meet and greets, you can take your own pictures and then have the designated photographers take pictures.  A Disney photo CD, which includes all the photos their photographers took during your stay, can run upwards of $150.  You get the digital copies so you can print whatever you want, but your camera will take pictures that are just as good. 

8.  Don't stress.  Disney will always be there.  You will always have time go to again, young or old, with your kids or your grandkids.  Revel in the moment, appreciate your surroundings and enjoy what you CAN do. 

If you have any of your own tips/tricks, feel free to put them in the comments below.  We learn some new trick or tip every time we go, which is part of the fun!  Somethings not covered were pin trading and character autographs.  These are things we are not interested in at all, but there's a ton of information out there if you're so inclined.  If there is anything you'd like me to expound upon, shoot me an email and I'll be happy to help!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Disney Day 4: A Day Fit for A Princess

We planned our trip so that it fell on KIC's actual birthday.  I wasn't sure how this day would go as she had been feeling pretty miserable the day before, fighting off an ear infection.  KIC is very nonchalant about her birthday.  She's not so much into the cake and the presents, she's more into spending time with her friends.  If it happens to include some fun activities, that's truly all she needs.  On the day of her actual birthday, I woke her up and asked her if she knew what day it was.  She sat bolt upright and said "My birthday!!!" and then laid back down.  We didn't bring any of her birthday gifts to Disney as I didn't want to schlep them down and back and she never said anything about it. 

Going down to Disney, KIC knew she was going to the Princess dinner at Epcot.  It was something we did last year and we all enjoyed it tremendously.  It doesn't hurt that the food is really really good.  What she didn't know, is that she was going to get a Cinderella "spa" treatment as a gift from my parents (Minga and Grandpa) from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.  This was for a couple of reasons.  One, I wasn't really sure she would understand all that was entailed, and two, it was going to be the only gift she got while she was down there so I wanted it to be a surprise. 

There are several different packages you can choose for your princess.  They do have a package for princes too, but for my money, I'd rather do the pirate for a day for the boy.  It's not as though the prince "spa" package is an afterthought, there just isn't much you can do for the boys sans costume.  They seem to be more inclined to dress like pirates than like princes (really, who can blame them?).  The packages range from $55 to $200, with the latter including a princess dress and shoes.  I knew this ahead of time and bought a $20 Tiana dress from Costco around Halloween.  KIC was none the wiser and we actually got a ton of compliments on it throughout the day. 

This was our first time at the spa as I knew nothing about it last year until it was too late to get KIC in.  Like many things geared towards the princesses, it books up months in advance.  Our appointment was at 9 am, and with the bonus of the extra magic hours that started at 8, we could leisurely make our way to Cinderella's castle without having to sprint from the entrance.  Along the way, we stopped to ride some rides and take some character photos.

I like these because they show the before the "spa" treatment.  Finally, the time had come to mosey onto the "spa".  Little girls who have received the spa treatment are unmistakable as they wander through the park.  Most of them are wearing princess gowns and they all looked grown up.  I always looked at them and thought, wow, that kid looks older than her years.  It never occurred to me that I was seeing the results of the spa treatment.  I will spare you the during photos, but here was KIC's finished product:


All this excitement, and we hadn't even done the princess dinner yet!        

Soon it was time to head to the Princess dinner.  If you're not familiar with the Princess dinner, there are two locations.  One at Akershus in Epcot and one at Cinderella's castle.  We have gone to Akershus the past two years because Cinderella's castle has been booked so I can't do a comparison for you.  I can only say that Akershus is awesome.  We get the parkhopper pass, so it's easy for us to go between the parks, but if you're only going to stay at Magic Kingdom, then you're definitely going to want to try to get into Cinderella's castle.  Many, though not all, of the princesses come to visit with your princess at the dinner.  We saw Aurora, Belle, Snow White (how come she doesn't have a real name?) and Ariel.  If you can swing it, I HIGHLY recommend taking your daughter on her actual birthday.  All of the princesses sign a birthday card just for her.  (Side note:  Disney sells autograph books that the characters will sign as you go through the park hitting up the various character meet and greets.  We do not do this mostly for time saving reasons, but the princesses will also sign books at the princess dinner.)  KIC pulled her usual "I'm shy" routine, but we got some really great pictures anyway as these princesses are VERY skilled in drawing out shy little ones.

A wonderful day, fit for a princess.  Happy 5th birthday, KIC!  Mommy and Daddy love you very much!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Disney Day 3: Disney embraces disabilities

If you're not familiar, the ADA is also known as the Americans With Disabilities Act.  In a nutshell, it requires that public areas be accessible to folks with disabilities.  There are a ton of construction codes and such associated with the ADA and there have been many famous lawsuits associated with folks with disabilities not having access to public areas.  I would assume it's costly to "do it right" to make things available to folks with disabilities, but I would guess that the costs with retrofitting areas would be even more expensive.

I will say that Orlando, in general, seems very accessible to folks with limited mobility.  Most handicap stalls have their own sink.  In some restrooms, this is extremely helpful and provides the opportunity to avoid the crowd at the sink.  Well, one hopes there is a crowd at the sink.  WASH YOUR HANDS, PEOPLE!  That's all I'm saying. 

Our hotel is exclusive to members of the military and their guests.  It should not have been a surprise to me, but was, when I looked at each of the pools and the was a lift in place.  Why wouldn't military folks with mobility issues want to swim??  I can say I haven't seen it in use, but that is probably because we are here in January when the water temp is a balmy 70 something degrees.  Air temperature, that's perfect.  Water temp...not so much. 

Each of the times we have visited Disney, we have visited with a family member with mobility issues.  We rent a scooter while we are down here and away we go.  (I should note here, because we take shuttles from our hotel, I do not know what the handicapped parking situation looks like.)  All Disney shuttle buses are kneeling buses equipped with ramps.  Once on the bus, there are places where the scooters and wheelchairs can be locked in for the guests' safety.  Each bus driver seems knowledgeable about the various wheelchair/scooter types and are extremely willing to facilitate getting the equipment on the bus.  This is extremely helpful and shows how mobility issues of any kind are widely seen at Disney.

Within the park itself, where you see steps, you see ramps close by.  Entrance and exit turnstiles are wide enough to accommodate scooters and wheelchairs.  If for some reason, you forgot your wheelchair at home, wheelchairs are available for rent at Disney Guest Services.  Aisles in stores easily accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, and, for instance, walking down Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom, you'll see at least ten scooters scoot scoot scooting along.

Okay, so all of that is standard.  So why am I so impressed by Disney's acceptance of folks with disabilities?  Well, to keep me organized (and succinct), I'll list it in bullet point format:

  1. For many rides, folks requiring wheelchairs get skip the line privileges.  If the waiting line cannot accommodate a wheelchair or scooter, there is always a side entrance where the guest (and their guests) skip straight to the head of the line to wait for the next available car. 
  2. Apparatus are provided so folks with mobility disabilities are able to ride.  A dad without use of his legs wanted to ride on the Mad Hatter's teacups with his daughter.  No problem says Disney.  They had a special car and a special ramp so the dad only needed to wheel his chair to the platform, climb on the platform and into the car.  Did it delay the ride by a couple of seconds while they made sure he had a clear path to get in and out?  Yup.  But! nobody waiting complained (as it should be) and he got to ride on the best ride (in KIC's opinion) at Disney.
  3. Not only does Disney accommodate guests with disabilities, they also hire folks with disabilities.  I saw wheelchair bound entrance gate cast members and encountered a deaf clerk in a store.  There wasn't anything to indicate the clerk was deaf, though her counterpart would explain when necessary.  She was just a person, working in a store in the happiest place on Earth. 
  4. I have heard (though have not experienced for myself) that folks with children with certain types of disabilities have been granted free entrance for the child (and maybe even the family) for life.  Not only will Disney accommodate folks with disabilities, they WELCOME and INVITE them.  For folks who don't have experience with disabilities, this means nothing.  But I think this makes a difference for the families who do have experiences with disabilities. 
During our stay, we saw many different types of disabilities partaking in the activities Disney offers.  From the frail young woman dressed as Mary Poppins taking pictures with her favorite characters, to the little girl with a walker who zoomed through the park, each one was having a magical experience, which is as it should be.  And incredibly, it was as if it was a day in the park for Disney. 

Well played, Disney, well played.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Disney Day 2: Or the one where I rave about the food

It's no secret that I love food - just ask my scale.  I am always appreciative of a well cooked meal.  It doesn't have to be fancy as I can appreciate a well cooked hot dog with flavor - except, apparently, Portillos. 

I mentioned in my previous post that Disney does the little things well.  Add food to the list of things Disney also does well.  If you want to save money, then certainly, bringing your own food into the park is the best way to do it.  What's that?  Did I just say "bringing your own food"??  Yes I did.  Disney has a surprisingly high tolerance for bringing food into the park.  We see people wheel cube coolers all around the park.  At first, I thought this was to accommodate some of the kosher folks, but it turns out, many people do it.  I would say that the amount of people who buy their food at the park vs the people who bring their food is about a 10 to 1 ratio.  I would assume it's due to the sheer number of folks who come from out of town.  Even traveling, as we do, I have found it's easy, economical and efficient to pack snacks for our consumption throughout the day.  While I will never quibble about a $2.50 bottle of water, I am not interested in paying $7 for an ice cream bar.  If KIC mentions she's hungry, I have learned that by making a snack readily available from my backpack diverts her attention and addresses her hunger in a much more effective way (trail mix, goldfish crackers, etc).

Disney meals are expensive, no doubt about it.  A lunch for two adults and one child ran us a cool $30 yesterday.  This was not at a fancy sit down restaurant, it was at a "grab and go" place.  For a mere $15, Brent was able to get a kicked up burger, fries and a drink.  My meal was a hot dog, fries and a drink and KIC had some kids meal thing.  Each of the meals was inclusive, meaning, you got the hot dog, fries and drink.  There was nothing a la carte listed on the menu.  This is key.  I found out yesterday, that I could have actually purchased a hot dog without the French fries and drink.  It is a trick I will use for upcoming meals.

What is surprising is that even at a "grab and go" stand, as exorbitant as you may feel the prices are, the food is of reasonable quality.  My hot dog was darn good and I didn't feel the need to add any condiments.  This has been true of most of the meals my family and I have eaten throughout the park.  They could use some improvement in the area of vegetarian meals, but I'm not entirely sure us meat eaters appreciate vegetarian flavors.  At least, I don't as much as I would like to.

Where Disney excels, however, is in the character meal offerings.  What I find fascinating about this is the fact that, at it's core, you are there because you have a small minion child who would, presumably, be entertained by the character offering.  Some examples are the princess dinner and a supercalifragilisticexpialidotious brunch with Mary Poppins.  What we have found is we go for the magic and the experience for KIC and we wind up raving about the food.

As with yesterday's post, I won't go into all of our fabulous character, or non-character, dining experiences, but I will take tonight to rave about our latest dining experience.  In the recently added (repurposed) Fantasyland, Disney added a dining experience with the Beast from "Beauty and the Beast."  They began taking reservations in August of 2012, but the dining didn't actually open until December 2012.  The fact that the week reservations opened, I was only able to get a 4:50 pm seating speaks to the level of anticipation surrounding this event (for the record, it's best to book the Princess dinner at least 6 months out.  Other character experiences may be available closer to the date, but the popular events book up super quick.). 

I will cut to the chase and say this, by far, has been my best character meal ever, and in the top ten dining experiences of my life.  Seriously.  The castle, down to the last detail, was straight out of the movie.  There was even simulated snow falling outside the dining room window.  Guests had the option to pose with the Beast after dinner since he was the gracious host for the evening.  The cuisine is down home French provencale, if you can use those terms together, and quite honestly, if that's down home cooking in France, I am moving, and most of my family is moving with me.

Shrimp and Scallops in puff pastry with my glowing goblet in the background
"The Grey Stuff" in honor of KIC's birthday

I am not proud to admit, I almost took my kid out for her "grey stuff".  It' s line in a song in "Beauty and the Beast" if you're not familiar.  It tasted like chocolate mousse mixed with clouds sprinkle with heaven.  Good thing I'm not a food critic, because I think that last line would have cost me my job.  Seriously, it was phenomenal and just the right amount of dessert for KIC (though that didn't stop her from scamming the chocolate confections from everybody else's desserts).  If you are visiting the Magic Kingdom in the upcoming months, I highly recommend dining here.  The food is phenomenal, but you may have to budget for it (cuz not many of my friends are connected to the Rockefellers) as entrees start at $19. 

In case you are interested, other noteworthy eating stops are:  Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre, Princess Dinner at Epcot and the Sci Fi Dine In Theatre.  I just can't wax poetic about all of them for fear I may start getting hungry.  Again. 

Another magical end to a magical day...this time, Mommy style!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Disney Day 1: Or, why the little things are huge

The Shoups (minus the zoo) are in Florida to celebrate KIC's fifth birthday.  We have some super special things planned all week for KIC.  When you visit Disney, you must accept the fact that not only can you not possibly do everything in one park, but you can't even really do all the things on your to do list.  This is a complete anathema to my very engineer, very organized mind.   Last year, when we came, I had everything planned to the hour (just ask any of my family members) but surprisingly, had no issues when most of the itinerary was thrown out the window on the first day.  This year, learning a lesson from last year, I scheduled one fun thing for KIC per day and left the rest of the day "loose".   My family members are teasing me about the lack of planning on the itinerary, but it's helped to keep the trip stress free.

The thing that impresses us all about Disney, and the reason we came back so soon after last year, is that they take great pride in the small details.  Seriously.  I won't tell you about our entire day, as that would be the blogger's version of a slideshow, but I'll tell you about two things that rocked my world in a good way.

Special Touch #1:  Because of the type of ticket we purchased, the box office inquired about the dates of birth of all the members in our party.  My dad's birthday is coming up soon and the box office lady noticed it.  He made sure she noticed KIC's birthday was also coming up.  Both of them got buttons announcing to the entire world that it was their birthday.

Notice, even the "I" has some love!

Throughout the park, KIC was hailed with "Hello, Princess!  Happy Birthday!!!" turning this mommy into a blubbering mess.  Where else will she get nearly bombarded with birthday greetings?  During a parade, one of the dancers even called out to her "Happy birthday, sweetie!"  It takes someone less than thirty seconds to say "Happy birthday, princess!" or "Happy birthday, Kaitlyn!" but I can guarantee it will make a lifetime memory for both of us.

Special Touch #2:  While at Disney, guests have the opportunity to meet and greet characters.  This is a fairly straightforward process.  You wait in line, you hug the character, they chat with you a bit, you get your picture and you're on your way.  Having been rookies last year, we did not narrow our character meet and greet focus.  Winnie the Pooh, not so much for KIC, but we took pictures with him.  Ariel would have been a big win and yet we missed out.

This year, armed with experience, we are making it a point to visit the characters who have meaning (or are at least recognizable for us).  We have been watching a LOT of "Princess and the Frog" lately, so Tiana was high on our list.  We had one near miss and almost didn't make it back (with the knowledge that we would have other opportunities), but we did go back today and I'm prepared to go back every day this week after today's experience.

If you don't know the movie, Tiana has what passes as a friend in a girl named Lottie.  Tiana is a very busy woman chasing her dream, so she doesn't really give herself time for friends.  Tiana and Lottie grew up together as Tiana's mom worked for Lottie's dad in the movie.

       Lottie is the one in pink

When it was KIC's turn to meet Tiana, the first thing Tiana said to KIC was "Oh my goodness, Lottie!"  This absolutely made KIC's day.  From that point on, she was absolutely beaming.  The care Tiana and Prince Naveen took during their visit with KIC was unlike anything I had witnessed to that point.  Them being awestruck might have been an act, but they were very convincing and it was the best character interaction KIC had all day.  See for yourself:

Magical.  And we've only just begun.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Spiritual Journey??

DH and I both grew up in spiritual households.  My mom, brother and I attended church fairly regularly until I hit my rebellious teens, and DH's family is all kinds of spiritual.  I think it comes with having a dad who was once a children's evangelical minister.  DH and I are at fairly opposite ends of the Christianity spectrum with our religious preferences.  I am very firmly Catholic and he is pretty comfortable being a Protestant of some flavor or another.  KIC was baptized in the Catholic church more out of tradition on my part than any real wont to have her follow Catholicism.  All this to say, the Shoups don't really attend church regularly.  And by regularly, I mean at all. 

KIC has started to express some interest in Christianity as a principle.  Her favorite Christmas decorations feature baby Jesus.  When she and NannyK attended ICE! at the Gaylord National Harbor (not a plug, I promise, it's all done now), she clapped at the icy baby Jesus display.  "Icy baby Jesus" is now a phrase in our household as a result.  So, when I asked her if she wanted to attend church on Christmas, I was not surprised to receive an emphatic yes. 

Due to circumstances beyond our control (ie not knowing the schedule), we missed mass on Christmas with a promise to attend the following Sunday.  There was all kinds of build up for the mass.  You can't talk during mass, we will learn about Jesus and the word of God, etc etc etc.  All good in theory.  It was the mechanics that threw K for a loop.  I think maybe she thought we would go in, read the bible and get the heck out of dodge.

Here is a rundown of the mass from KIC's perspective:

Entrance of the priest:  Who is coming?  Why do I have to stand for him?  No thanks, I'd rather sit down.
Kneeler in the pew:  Perfect foot rest.  She wasn't sure at all why it was there if not to use as a foot rest.  The bruises on my shins are a testament to whispered arguments discussions as to why it was NOT appropriate to pull down the kneeler as a foot rest and why a kneeler in its upright position is a perfectly acceptable foot rest. 
Songs/Singing:  Hated it.  She was sobbing hysterically as I sang the Christmas hymns associated with the day's mass.  Never mind the fact that we had been singing them NOT TWO DAYS PRIOR in the car. Maybe my singing in the car is less awful than my singing in church?  Dunno, but now I have a complex as the crying magically stopped once my singing stopped.
Praying:  Apparently, praying is also cause for hysterics as KIC was not ever, nope never, praying in church.  Ever.  Guess the prayers she asks for before we eat dinner are still okay.
Communion:  This is where the quote of the day comes in:  "Mommy, I do NOT want COOKIES and WATER!!!!"  Nevermind the fact that communion wafers are not cookies, I think this is the first time in her life EVER she has refused a cookie.
Returning to church:  When asked if she was interested in going again, KIC said "only if there's no singing."  Apparently, KIC prefers that church not feed you or be any modicum of fun.

Guess we'll continue to be spiritual at home.  I will however keep this in mind next time I need some entertainment in church.

Happy New Year from the Shoup family to yours!