Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Saturday, June 28, 2014
As you probably can guess, since Disney is Disney, no detail is left untouched, no matter how small. Every need, every want, is taken care of, always. Every person you meet has a smile, a helpful hand, or whatever you need for the moment. The problem is that the good vibes end abruptly as you descend the stairway to reality, or rather, bureaucracy - the dreaded customs room. They really should have signs as you descend -
You are now leaving the land of Happy and entering the domain of Grumpy.
It was a world of laughter but here begins the world of tears.
You must stop having a good time.
We silently wound through the queue, dread in our hearts, fear in our minds, until we got to the last two people before the customs booth. John and several of the children were told to move on to the space behind the booth while I was stopped with the rest of the children behind me. And then ensued the following conversation:
Ma'am, you need to wait here.
Excuse me, shouldn't families enter customs together?
Yes. Are you with your family?
No, sir, you sent them on ahead.
You're with them?
Yes, we are.
You're all the same family?
But only immediate families go through customs together.
We are immediate family. That's my husband and those are my children.
Who is with you here?
The rest of my children. We need to be with that man up there, the one with the red face who is yelling for me to join him because we can't go through customs if we're not all together.
But you can only go with the people on your customs declaration form.
We are on the same form. We are one family.
You're one family?
Well, we were when we came in here but if you look at my husband you'll see that he's extremely upset that I am not obeying his orders to join him so we may not be one family much longer.
Oh, then you may go ahead, ma'am.
Thank you, sir.
I like to believe he thought I looked too normal to be mother to so many.
Welcome Home, Kids!
Friday, June 27, 2014
So this time around, some of us decided to find out about sea lions.
This involved some kissing
but no dancing.
Am I the only one who noticed that I still have the same bathing suit five years later? Oh dear. No wonder my teenage daughter says my clothes are vintage. Only she didn't call my bathing suit vintage. Maybe it's time for a new one.
Thursday, June 26, 2014
So when he heard them announce Jack Jack's Incredible Diaper Dash, he was all in. Well, he was all ready to put Victor all in. Never mind that the child can't see the Jack Jack motivational doll at the other end of the race mat. Never mind that the child is hungry and ready for lunch. He was going to enter said child and said child was going to win if he had anything to do with it.
Unfortunately, said child had other ideas. That bottle that the Good Doctor thought he could shake to get the baby to crawl, just made Victor plant himself on the spot and have a good ol' fashioned temper tantrum at that mean daddy who wouldn't just give him the bottle.
At that point, Mommy's voice wasn't going to work, either.
Thankfully he wasn't the only baby who didn't budge.
And because Disney is all American, every baby got a participation prize.
The Good Doctor feels much better now.
Besides, Victor was probably just making a conscious decision not to participate because he was trying so hard to learn to walk, not crawl. And since he did take that long-awaited first step last night, all is forgiven.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Each dinner we were greeted by Gennaro and Jonathan, from Italy and the Philippines respectively. Yes, Disney does everything well but Gennaro and Jonathan went above and beyond. They joked with us, interacted over brain teasers, asked about our lives, and shared some of theirs. What a privilege to commit to praying for each of them and their families. We are blessed because we were able to share a small part of life's journey with them.
And we won't talk about how much weight we gained on this cruise.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Family was the reason for this trip and family was what made it special.
Shoun was a good sport and agreed to pose with the girls before boarding. Poor Guy! The travel agent must have thought his name was that of a female so put him in my cabin. Of course we could switch things up when we got to the room but to register, he had to follow the line of estrogen.
They love their PopPop and MomMom!
And so now I say to my parents what John's dad always said to his grandmother, "Look what you've started!"
Thank you, PopPop and MomMom!
Monday, June 23, 2014
And no, we're not to the cruise yet, but that will come. I promise. I just don't know when yet.
There were at least 3 Mommy Wins on this trip. I'm certain there were many more but who's counting?
The first win was googling all those travel games. We've only ever had one vehicle with a built-in DVD player. I didn't want that DVD player but the Good Doctor only buys vehicles off of ebay, and ones at a bargain, and this particular ebay bargain came with a DVD player. Fortunately, that DVD player only lasted us one trip to Florida and that was the end of that. Good because in my day we entertained ourselves while traveling and did not need technology to do that for us. Of course we also did not need to be anchored into our seats so my dad created luxurious back-of-the-van sitting areas with sleeping bags and pillows for cushions, handmade tables for games, even chairs on occasion. But I digress. While I'm okay with moments of technology, I do believe vacations can still be about audio books, family bonding and group games. Am I right? So for this trip, I came prepared. Every few hours, I'd announce that it was time to put those ear plugs and contraptions away and join in the next fabulous group game. Jesse pretended to sleep but everyone else eagerly awaiting the directions for the next amazing game. And they all came with fabulous prizes, too, like all expense paid trips to North Carolina one day or to Georgia the next, and even to Florida the next. And lucky for us, I have plenty more game ideas for the next trip.
The next Mommy Win was hiding the fact that our second campsite, where we stayed for two nights, actually had internet at our site. I found this out by mistake the first afternoon when the family went to the beach and I stayed back with Little Mister who was once again refusing a nap. I pulled out my laptop to write down a few future blog ideas and realized that not only did my computer show internet connection, but a strong one at that. I quickly put my computer away lest someone get a similar idea and check for a connection. Later that evening I caught the Good Doctor walking around the camp store glued to his ipad. I inquired as to whether or not he was on the internet, fishing for how much he knew. He informed me that there was internet service if you stayed near the store. Whew! Obviously he had not yet caught on. That little secret stayed with me for the duration and subsequently we were all able to enjoy good old fashioned conversation and family bonding instead of individual Facebook scrolling.
The third and final Mommy Win started a few days before the trip when I asked the three oldest to each be in charge of a family devotional time, one for each day of the camping trip. One child was reluctant but obedient and in the end, all participated. One child led us in a discussion of God-sized dreams, another in a significant prayer time for each of us and the trip, and the third talked about forgiveness. I enjoyed each one of them and the individual personalities that came through in their topics and discussions. I am very proud of the spiritual maturity in each of these older children and am thrilled with the examples they set for the younger crowd.
Who knows? Maybe we'll go camping for 8 days next time so everyone can have a turn?
Sunday, June 22, 2014
Mariana and I headed out for a walk on the beach. We enjoyed a nice stroll along the water with great conversation besides. In the process, we were gone longer than anyone had anticipated. Fearing that we had gotten lost, been mauled by sharks, or swallowed by the ocean, our loving family members decided to wait no longer for our return. Without as much as a signal flag message or campfire smoke signal announcement, they took off, not caring about what would happen when we arrived back to an empty King family section of the beach. No one to stay behind to give us a message. No care for the women. Nothing.
On our return, we approached our former location only to find that we couldn't locate any members of the King family. We're not that difficult to spot but at this moment, we couldn't recognize anyone. We looked up the beach to where our chairs and blanket had been located but now, only one lonely chair remained, still with no family members in sight. We continued on to that lone chair to find our clothes and my shoes but nothing else (the family later claimed that they had written us an explanatory note in the sand but as it could not be verified, we have our doubts). No shoes for Ana, no towels, no water, no money, no phone. Nothing.
The sun was hot, the sand hotter, and the macadam in the parking lot was the hottest of all yet that's where we went to wait for the (hopefully) returning van. We thought about going into the shops to cool off, but Ana had no shoes. We thought about getting something to eat, but no money. We thought about making a sign that said we were homeless and needed money for shoes and water, but they hadn't even left us cardboard or a marker. We were stuck.
Hours later, the Good Doctor pulled up in the van. No explanation. No apology. No idea of all the distress their abandonment of us had caused. Nothing.
Mariana's feet were blistered from that hot parking lot for 3 days. And the story will last for a lifetime.
Remember that time when ... ?
Saturday, June 21, 2014
We learned two very important things about Victor on this trip. The first thing we learned is that he doesn't sleep on vacation. Each traveling day was anywhere from 6 - 14 hours on the road. No matter the length or times of day that we were traveling, he never napped more than 1 hour. And this from my excellent sleeper who usually naps a total of 3 - 4 hours. However, he remained his usual happy self, no matter the hours awake. And then at night, we'd put him to bed, thinking that he'd fall asleep immediately and sleep for a longer than normal amount of time. Wrong again. He'd stand up, scream (happy screams), sit down, roll around, stand up, you get the picture. Being perpetually exhausted meant that at times he'd just conk out wherever he was or as soon as someone snuggled with him, only to jerk to attention within a short amount of time.
The second thing we learned about Mr. Victor during this trip is that he absolutely loves the water! This makes this beach lovin' Mama very happy. Ocean, pool, baby water play area, he doesn't care. He splashed and screamed to his heart's content and only stopped when picked up at which point he immediately put his head down and cuddled, exhausted.