Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Animal Kingdom

On Monday we ventured off to Disney's Animal Kingdom. My expectations were high and after leaving I was a little disappointed. Sue was told that most of the animals are hard to find (they hide) and this was the case at 1/2 the exhibits.

If you have small children (under 5) you might want to re-consider BUGS 3-D. This looks all cutesy and cuddly from the outside but once you get in you are bombarded with acorns, a stink-bug lets one loose, bees are up close and personal, huge animatronic bugs, and spiders drop from the ceiling. Right before you leave all the slugs and snails (and such) need to leave first so you feel things underneath your seat moving.. pretty gross.. Carter was a little scared of the spiders and the acorns flying past our heads.

Some of the fun stuff was Carter meeting Goofy and Pluto (pluto's tag said "if lost, please return me to Mickey Mouse) and Meeko the raccoon. We also saw some monkeys, various birds, an anteater, a hippo, and a pair of Gorillas. We were watching the Gorillas; thinking they were going to fight. We soon found out that one of them was male and the other was female as the parents frantically rolled away the strollers and shielded their children's eyes from nature.

We didn't have a chance to go on the safari since the park closed at 6pm. That is one thing that we're not too happy with but I guess we are here off-season. The first day at Disney we were very sad to here that the park closed at 7pm (on a Saturday!) but this was because of 'grad night'.

Here are some photos

The future Chad Smith (or Ricky Ricardo)
This monkey has a child clinging to it
The Gorillas (before showing us some tricks)
Carter meets Goofy and Pluto

Monday, April 28, 2008


Saturday we went to Disneyworld. The last time I was at Disneyworld was around 1994 when Sue and I went. We remember doing disney in one day since most of the rides are geared towards the little ones. This time we spent 7 hours on Saturday and 8 hours on Sunday. Sunday we stayed for the parade (see photos below) and the fireworks. The park closed at 11pm. If you stay at one of the resorts you can come in at 11pm and stay til 2am!

Carter's favorites: Meeting buzz lightyear (he gave him a high-five), meeting winnie the pooh and tigger (too). Carter's favorite rides were: Pirates of the Caribbean .. he can't stop talking about seeing 'jack sparrow' (What is funny is that they put this wax figure of Johnny Depp (as Jack Sparrow) in various places through 'pirates' (the ride still looks the same except with Jack showing up here and there... and also an apparition of davey jones (not the guy from the monkees) greets you when the ride starts), Buzz Lightyears Galactic Adventure (Grand-ma won!), it's a small world (I have a fear of the ride breaking down and all the little people coming to life) and the Country Bears (they dust them off once in awhile).
The fireworks were unlike anything we've seen before. I imagine disney creates their own types of fireworks.. and the grand finale was tinker-bell (or someone a little bigger than her) flying down a wire from the top of the castle and across to a nearby building.

We had to fight the evil Zorg to get our son back

Everyone Loves A Parade

These are real "little" people - don't be fooled!

Super Carter and his Dad
Drinks were priced reasonably. Water was $1.80.. Powerage (blue) was $2.00 ... that's about all I've been drinking is the energy-drinks. It's hard to find something healthy to eat at disney but they were selling bananas, apples and oranges at some of their stands. You can only eat so many fried foods before the muscles in your legs cease up on you.

The little mermaid was my favorite. She's a redhead, you know and she's been my favorite disney character for a long time. I was very excited to see her in person!

Next up: Animal Kingdom

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Florida here we are!

On Friday morning (April 25, 2008) we got up at 5am to catch a 7:45 flight out of Allentown for Orlando. I haven't flown since 1996 (on my honeymoon). Going through the gate check wasn't too bad but I did protest when they asked that I remove my belt. This holds up my pants and without it there are problems. Off with the shoes, remove all the crap from your pockets, take off all outerwear, remove any gold teeth, throw your brand-new laptop into a plastic tray, remove all metal rods from your spine, and proceed.

The airport breakfast food is something you do not want to consume. I bought a double-bacon egg omelet at Subway. Basically pre-cooked egg rolled out with pre-cooked bacon wrapped in a fajita and unheated. Sue went with the more practical blue-berry muffin (as did Carter). As I was leaving the subway my wife and son were no where to be found. I usually get a 'waa waa waa' (like the teacher on peanuts) and then realize I never heard what my wife told me. So I sat in front of the subway eating my omelet as they called 'last call for gate 10 to orlando'.. S**T that was our flight. I see Sue running and coming to a halt in a panic looking for me as I rustled with the spackled omlette and shoved it back in the bag.

We ran to the gate. No hurry since once we got through there was a line going onto the plane. This was Carter's first plane ride. The flight was pretty smooth but I did take offense to the flight attendant's attempt at humor during the safety instruction. .."if the flight becomes a cruise please use your seat as a floatation device"... somehow I remember hearing that in a movie..

During the flight they held a raffle and we bought 10 tickets for $5.00.. and we won! A Florida blanket and a deck of cards. I remember flying as a child and receiving 'wings' and a deck of cards.

Once we were about to touch down Carter moved over to the window seat (seen below).
We picked up the rental car (a Dodge Caliber) and went off to Seaworld. Even before we got inside Carter was wanting to see a Manatee! We have no idea where he even heard of a manatee before.

The manatee was one of the last things we saw before leaving. I wasn't very impressed with Seaworld after spending $200.00 on 3 tickets. The only things to drink were soda and water.. we could not find juice anywhere and you will think I'm lying but my son does not like either water (he drinks this sometimes) or soda (he hates soda; yes, he's my son). The shows were really bad; even for kids shows. Once you become a father (or mother) you become an expert on what kids like and otter/seal show was pretty bad. We didn't get to see the Shamu show since it was to capacity as we approached the gate. You have to walk about 3 miles to the stadium and then once you get there you are either told to 'come on in' or 'go away; we're full' (not exactly what they said). The food was over-priced (like most theme parks) - water $2.50 / bud - $5.00 - and if you are carrying your bud make sure they're aren't any small children in front of you. You could accidentally poor beer down there back if you aren't watching what you are doing.
What was very cool was that you could see Shamu up close and personal. He has his own tank. (see the photo below). The manatees were outside and you could get pretty close to them. You could also see sharks, stingrays, barracudas (these guys look mean; and have teeth!), dragonfish (look just like a floating plant), and the occasional squirrel. While we were sitting at the otter/seal show Sue looked over and a squirrel was staring at us from the aisle. They seem to seek me out! They are vicious little creatures and should be avoided at all costs.

I will post more as soon as I have more energy. Yesterday we went to Disney and 7 hours walking around in the sun takes a lot out of you. And we are heading back there today.

A Manatee named Jeremy

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thinking of Summer

Today it was in the 70s here in PA. Nice change from the 40s and 50s of previous weeks. So, I decided to get a head start on the patio furniture.

Several years ago my in-laws gave us a nice wood patio set. Since we had the deck built back in October I decided that it was time to put new life into the old patio set. We've debated whether or not to buy new patio furniture or keep what we have. We both like the wood furniture that was given to us and it's a great compliment to the new deck. The only problem is that it needs some care, and some paint.

Today I sanded down the table and primed it. This took me about 2 hours! But the end result will be well worth it. We have two chairs, 4 benches, a bench seat, and a lounge chair that all go together. My goal is to have the table, 2 benches and 2 chairs sanded, primed & painted before summer gets here. The two chairs are currently sitting on the deck next to each other. The bench is also on the deck and in better shape that the other pieces. The photo (above) is of the primed table.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Simple Chef: Sunday Grillin'

Well it's Sunday and here at the Lilly household that usually means some sort of chicken dish for what I like to call myself; the simple chef.

I'm a simple chef because I can read directions for a simple recipe, boil an egg, make rice (and not the minute kind), make chili (from scratch), make a mean meatloaf (again, from scratch).. but anything more complicated than that or something which requires a lot of prep.. I then put into use the following phrase, "yes, I am ready to order."

On Sundays we usually have an oven-baked whole chicken, maybe a boneless chicken with a coating of italian dressing or today, just because I feel summer coming; bar-b-que chicken on the ole' grill.

Today I am marinating several legs, some thighs, and breasts in some MEMPHIS STYLE BBQ SAUCE. This is the first time I am trying this particular sauce. You can only find this sauce at Wegman's since they make their own sauces. The ingredients in this one are: Tomato Puree (Water, Tomato Paste), Water, Sugar, Fancy Molasses (now that's fancy!), Distilled Vinegar, Vegetables (Bell Peppers, Onion and Garlic), Spices, Mustard Flour, Natural Flavor, Paprika, Citric Acid (I love Citric Acid!).

Keep it Simple and Happy Grillin!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Mr. Lappy

The latest at the Lilly ranch is that earlier this week we had a thunder storm come through. I unplugged my wife's computer during the storm. When I went to plug it back in it came on but soon shut down while she was sending an email. I then realized that it was very loose where the plug was inserted. I couldn't get the computer to come back on.

Her computer is 7 years old so we decided not to have it fixed. So, she got my (I will never buy a) DELL computer with the 19" monitor. And... I went out and bought a new laptop. His name is Mr. Lappy and he's become a good friend to me in the last couple of days.

Luckily my wife did not have anything of importance on her computer. I make sure I backup everything while also keeping it on the hard-drive.. just in case the computer kicks or the disc I transfered to deciides not to work anymore. But I also don't have anything of great importance on my computer either. Just some old photos of David Hasselhoff, Timmay and Steve Guttenburg; people who have been with me throughout my life.

Ok.. I will have to remember to delete the last line I typed.. I'll get back to that.

Anyway, hopefully Mr. Lappy and I will remain good friends for a long time. I got him for a great price and he's even faster than my DELL computer. Dude, don't get a DELL! Story for another time.