Monday, November 17, 2008

the readers digest version

I've been way too busy to keep up as things happen.

NKOTB with Leah was a ton of fun. Instead of taking a million pictures, I took a lot of video instead. Some of it will probably show up in future blogs.

I became an AUNT to a perfectly wonderful little boy. His name is John Matthew Hopper, and he was born on 11/11 at 2:48 a.m. He is named after my great-grandfather, grandfather and father - and was born on my great-grandmother's birthday. In discussing how happy this would all make my grandfather, Katie said to Mike, "thanks a lot - Kristen and I might as well not even exist any more." There are lots of photos of the little peanut on Facebook.

Lauren was very sick all weekend, but thankfully, seems to be much better today. She missed out on meeting Santa Claus at the mall, which means, I am going to have to go to the mall on a weekend in December - something I try NEVER to do.

That's all there's time for today. At least I updated!

Friday, November 7, 2008

a fairy tale

Once upon a time, there was a family of three bears. A momma bear, a poppa bear and a baby bear.

The bear family lived in a cottage at the edge of town, right between the forest and a strip mall.

This lovely cottage had been built many years ago by the town carpenters and tradesmen. During which time, they installed wiring connected to a fuse box, supplying 60 amps of fine electricity to all the cottage outlets.

The bear family, was a family who enjoyed the luxury of electricity. Lights, computers, air conditioning, vacuums, irons, and, of course, an Xbox.

Now, in the group of tradesmen who built the cottage, there was an evil electrician. Bent on causing heartache for the family who would someday live in the cottage, he wired it so that too many rooms were getting electricity from the same fuse.

When the bear family moved in to the cottage, they were so pleased with their dwelling, that they didn't mind too much that they often blew fuses if plugging in the wrong combination of appliances.

However, one cold and dreary day, in the early weeks of December, the momma bear decided to plug in a beautiful Christmas tree. It was then that the bears discovered that the evil electrician had cursed the fuse box to sense any bit of Christmas cheer and immediately blow the fuse to the majority of the cottage.

The bears suffered in silence for several years. Only sharing this problem with their friends when they would be suddenly plunged into darkness during a crowded poker game. Which would then scatter the friends to every open store in the town, in search of more fuses.

One mild fall day, the bear family left the house, as usual. Poppa bear went to sell computers, that he could never plug in at home. Momma bear went to sell industrial plumbing supplies, as all good momma bears do. Baby bear went to play with her friends at Little Cubs daycare.

While the bears were away from the cottage that day, a very special contractor fairy happened upon the dwelling. Upon realizing the curse the evil electrician had left, and also because of the large check the poppa bear had left for him, the contractor fairy knew that something had to be done.

That evening, the momma bear walked into the cottage, and immediately said "somebody has been working in my garage". Sure enough, the momma bear walked in to the garage, and found a brand new, silver, shiny breaker box where the old fuse box had been. This box was pumping 200 amps of quality electricity to the far corners of the cottage.

Oh the joy the bear family felt. Visions of Christmas decorations, ironing with the lights on, and toasting while microwaving, danced through their heads.

At baby bear's request, they celebrated by singing the alphabet, and then they all lived happily ever after.

Meanwhile, the evil electrician received a call from the Obama campaign. Last he was seen, he was diligently working on a curse that would provide equal amounts of electricity to all American buildings, regardless of their size.

The end.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

i know you...

Once again, Mike, the master of all blogs, even though he doesn't have one of his own, has put on the pressure. Enough blog slacking. I'll try to do better.

How to catch up without rambling on for days? hmm...

Anyone who has spent any time with me - ever - knows that I have always loved all things Disney. But, for the record, my favorite scene out of all the Disney movies, is the scene from Sleeping Beauty, where Aurora is in the woods and starts singing "Once Upon A Dream" and Philip shows up, dances with her and finishes the song.

Well, the other day, there was a commercial on the Disney channel for the new DVD release of Sleeping Beauty, and it features that song. I sang it to Lauren, and since then, she is CONSTANTLY walking around, singing "I KNOW YOU" over and over.

Sometimes we sing it together:
Lauren: "I KNOW YOU"
Me: "I walked with you once upon a dream."
Lauren: "I KNOW YOU"
Me: "The gleam in your eyes is so familiar a gleam."
Lauren: "I KNOW YOU"
REPEAT X infinity

Halloween was soooo fun! Dan and I both took the day off and it went like this:
- Dress Lauren up as Minnie Mouse and take photos
- Take Lauren to daycare, where they were having a parade and party
- Breakfast at Panera
- Two hours at the gym (which we NEVER get to do together)
- Pick Lauren up and relax at home while she took a nap
- Kris and Suzanne brought Kendra over so she and Lauren could trick-or-treat together
- Dad, Katie and Jimmy went with us.
- Came back home and Dean, Terry, Emily, Mike and Kate came over and took the girls out again.
- Leah, Matt, Jason, Lisa and Ayden came over.
- We watched "The Shining" - which I had never seen before, and I didn't think it was scary. (probably because we were making funny comments about it the whole time)

I've found myself to be in kind of a bad mood lately. (Which is probably why I stopped blogging.) I've determined the cause of it is that, once again, I am WAY overcomitted with church responsibilities. So, spread the word - anyone who asks me to do anything else is going to get shot down so fast, their head will spin. Don't take it personal - it's not that I don't deeply care about you or the church, and my priorities are NOT messed up, as much as some people would like to tell me they are. And, to quote Forrest Gump - "that's all I have to say about that."

OK... on to the election:
Never mind. I can't. My head will explode.
So much to say - but really, there aren't words...

Just in case you didn't know just how much Dan loves me:
I came home a couple weeks ago, to find in my inbox two tickets to see NKOTB at Mohegan Sun on Saturday the 8th. Not only did he buy me tickets...(here's the kicker)... he knew that Katie couldn't go with me, so he said that I should ask Leah, and if she couldn't than HE would take me. Yes, that's right - Dan would have GONE WITH ME to a NKOTB concert.

Fortunately, Leah gave me a big "HECK YES, I'M IN!!!" a split second after I asked her - so my darling husband dodged that bullet BIG TIME. So, on Saturday, I get to go see, in Katie's words "the best concert in the history of all concerts" again. Won't be front row this time, but they're still good seats.

So, now that I've sacrificed precious housework time to catch you all up, we're back on track. I will now spend the remainder of the evening in the bathroom, scrubbing off the Halloween mural I drew on the shower walls with Lauren's Crayola bath crayons.

Friday, October 24, 2008

lessons from mom

Through Facebook, I was able to reconnect this week with a great childhood friend. In sending messages back and forth, she shared many memories, including this one...

"Your Mom was such a cool lady - one memory really sticks out. I totally remember her filling me in that Han Solo was actually the hot one in Star Wars, not Luke Skywalker - and I remember realizing she was right!"

I laughed when I read that, because on Tuesday night, The Empire Strikes Back was on TV, and I made sure to tell Dan (for probably the millionth time) that my deep love for Star Wars is definitely a direct result of my mom's crush on Harrison Ford as Han Solo. (- and NOT due to my father repeatedly holding my pigtails up in the air and calling me "Yoda".)

Once again... thanks mom, for teaching me all the really important things in life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

overheard this morning

As I was upstairs, getting ready for work...

Dan: "LAUREN! Do NOT eat your yogurt with your hands!"

Lauren: "NO! MINE!"

She has a point.

Monday, October 6, 2008

i love you aunt carol

I don't even know what I'm writing, so I'm just going to ramble.

Carol Nauta has always been one of the most stable, strong, influencial and loving people I have ever known. She has been with me and my family through great times, horrible times and every time in between. Her family is OUR family, and always will be.

Today, Carol was out, riding her Vespa scooter. We have no idea what happened, but police found her on the road. She was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center. Her family, my family and many more of our extended "family" rushed to be there. We prayed, cried and prayed some more, but after many hours of working on her, the doctors were unable to save her.

As someone who has suddenly lost her mother - I stood there with Jason and Tracy as they lost theirs. Then I worried about Jeremy and Trevor hearing the news and traveling home. Fortunately, Trevor was able to get on a standby flight and is already here, and the submarine that Jeremy is on was actually docked - so he'll be able to get here too. Pray for him as he travels and as his wife and kids drive up from Virginia.

I sat there, hugging my best friend, Leah, while we watched Terry lose her best friend.

I watched my father comfort his widowed friend, who 9 years ago, was there to comfort him.

I cried as I looked around at more than 30 people, most of which are not blood related to me, but who have always been my family and always will be. I am humbled to be so fortunate to be a part of such a strong support system. The Lord has blessed me with some of the dearest friends in the world.

Aunt Carol was so much to me. She was my youth group leader throughout Jr. High and high school. She was mom to four of my friends. She was close friend to my parents - close enough that in making out their wills, my parents entrusted Michael, Katie and I to Carol and Don, should anything happen to them.

She was there when I got married, and she was at my house the day I brought my daughter home from the hospital.

She got Leah and I out of trouble when we were at a teen retreat at Harvey Cedars and we caused some minor damage and snuck out to go to the beach.

The day my mother died, I was sitting on the front steps of my father's house. Aunt Carol was one of the first people to arrive. She held me and said "don't forget - I'm your legal guardian!" It was a role she took very seriously. She has been there for us every day since. Including taking Katie to get her wedding dress.

Yesterday morning, I was sitting with Dan and Lauren, and Carol came over to us to give us her usual kiss hello. I can't forgive myself for not grabbing on to her and not letting go.

When we were leaving the hospital tonight, Cheryl Barra said to me "why did God take Carol?". I answered "Because she touched many more lives than we ever have or ever will, and will continue to through her death".

Carol had a heart for missions like no one else I have ever known. She will be mourned across the earth, including the hundreds of people she ministered to in Uganda. She spent her life sharing God's love to everyone she met - here and worldwide.

Here is a photo of her, watching Jimmy and Katie get married. She has known Jimmy since birth and Katie since she was four years old. You can see her love for them on her face.

She loved us and we loved her. I know she is with her Lord and Savior, but I sit here, crying, because our lives will never be the same without her.

I love you Aunt Carol. You have always been there for me, and your love has helped make me the person I am today. My life has been so much richer for having you in it. I can't wait for the day we are together again.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

remember when we said girl, please don't go? and how I'll be lovin you forever...

September 27, 2008. Hands down, the best day ever. (Nothing against major life events, such as weddings and childbirth...) We're talking about, no stress, pure fun, couldn't be more perfect day. Beats out my former best day - the day Dan and I took a private helicopter tour of Los Angeles and went to a taping of The King Of Queens.

I have lots to share - but I'll start with the breakdown of the day and probably re-visit certain aspects of it another time.

Katie and I left Middletown in the morning and made a stop in Paramus, NJ. We bought some great clothes at Ann Taylor Loft and had lunch. Then it was on to Atlantic City.

We arrived at Borgata, checked it, and quickly remembered how much we love this amazing hotel. It was immediatly obvious that the place was already crawling with women who were very excited for the concert. We went to our room and quickly got changed - slapped on tons of black eyeliner, bangle bracelets and hoop earrings - trying to look somewhat 80s, while still dressing 2008.

It was only 2:30, and we didn't have to meet our "I Love All Access" (ILAA) host until 4:30, so we decided to spend some time in the casino. We sat down at some 25 cent slots, and decided to blow $20 each. At first, Katie was doing better than I was, but then when I got down to my FINAL spin, my last 25 cents turned into $56.00. - time to cash out. Then we went to different machines and I won an additional $13.00. We decided we were done. I was up and Katie was out $30.

At this point, there were tons of women who had regular tickets in a line outside the event center. Some had been there for several hours. We went into a bar and decided we should eat something. We got nachos, but I was too excited to eat.

Dan and Jimmy had taken us to "Torches" - a really nice restaurant for dinner the night before. I only had two drinks, but for some reason, I got sick off of them, so I decided that this trip was NOT going to include any alcohol for me. I decided on regular coke, so I could try to function off of sugar and caffeine.

Finally, it was time to check in at the Event Center with the ILAA people. Katie and I were fortunate to be at the front of the huge mass of people trying to get in, so we were given our passes and found out we were in "Group A" - that meant we would be in the first group of 10 people to meet the guys and have our picture taken with them. We went in the room with 198 other girls and anxiously waited.

Robo - the NKOTB bodyguard from way back in the day, came in and with a megaphone, gave us a lecture about how to behave. He made it clear that if anyone rushed at the guys they would leave and it would all be over.

The five guys entered from the back of the room, and everyone went crazy. Donnie and Danny stopped and hugged girls on their way in. Jon, Jordan and Joe went right up to the front to the photo area. Then, Jordan and Danny both walked right over to ME! Jordan gave me a high-five and Danny gave me a little hug. I said "Danny, you look GREAT!" (he has clearly spent the last 20 years in the gym). He thanked me.

Group A had 10 people in it. I knew that we would have only a few seconds with the guys and that I was not guaranteed to be near the one I wanted for the photo. In my mind, I decided I would be thrilled if I could get near either Jon or Jordan. Katie said that she was hoping to get to talk to Joe.

It was time to move forward for our time with them. I walked into the area and Jon was standing by himself - so I knew it was my one chance and I had to talk to him. (Let's face it... I've waited TWENTY YEARS for this moment! Jon was always my favorite, with Jordan a close second.)

I walked up to Jon and he smiled at me. I chuckled and said "Jon, I have to tell you - you were always the one!" He said "awww... thanks!" and gave me a huge hug. I said "Thank you for coming back and doing this."

All of a sudden, Jordan came over to Jon and I (seriously people, I'm dying again, just typing this!) I said "Hi Jordan, nice to meet you!" and went to shake his hand. He smiled and said "no-", rejected my hand shake and hugged me instead. I said "OK, if you want to hug me, then SURE!"

Meanwhile, Katie was right near us, and just happened to have Joe right by her! She said to him "Joe, my good friend is your successor in Wicked" (Joe played Fiyero for a while.) He said "REALLY?" and was very interested. She told him about how Aaron told her about Joe missing his cue on stage because he was in his dressing room watching the Red Sox. Joe laughed and said "no, it was the Giants!"

That conversation was going on, while, Jon, Jordan and I were just kind of standing there, listening to them. Honestly, I have NO idea what the other 8 girls were doing behind us - I'm going to guess swapping spit with Donnie. - Seriously.

I was kind of shocked that we were all still just standing around and the photo still had not been taken yet, I talked to Jon a bit more, I think I said something really stupid, like "It's about time we finally met, for years your picture was plastered all over my bedroom ceiling." Yes - major lame, I know - but he at least had the courtesy to laugh.

During this time, the ILAA people were getting their cameras set up - which is why we got so much more time with the guys than the other girls who came after us did. It was time to line up for the photo. It ended up being, (from the right) Joe, Katie, Jordan, Me, Jon, and then Donnie and Danny and the 8 other girls. Jordan and Jon both had their arms around me. There was no better scenerio I could have imagined for that photo. It will be posted online for me to download sometime within the next two weeks.

Here is one that someone else who was in the room took...

When we were done, I wanted to say hi to Donnie, since he was the only one I had not talked to. He had already hugged Katie and gave her a kiss on the forehead. He was behind me, with several girls hanging on him. I touched his arm and said "Thanks for coming back.", he stepped around someone and gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek.

When our time with them was over - we had a choice - we could either go into a second room where they would come in and mingle with everyone for a few minutes after all the pictures were taken. Or, we could be the first to be let into the venue to get a spot for the show. Unlike the other huge arenas they are playing for this tour, the Borgata only fits 4000 people with standing room general admission in the front and then seats in the back. It was more important for us to be front row for the concert than to fight with 198 other girls for two seconds with them, so we went in and got a prime spot right in front of the stage. We were just to the right of the center, as we had been told that that was the side Jon would be on. Worked out perfect, because it was Jordan's main spot too.

I said to Katie... "Do you realize we just hugged five Red Sox fans?" Still not sure how to process that...

Colby O'Donis was the opening act. He looks like he is 12 years old. We were joking around that every woman there is old enough to be his mother. We felt a little bad for him, because clearly we were not his demographic. The girl next to me said "you're daughter is probably going to love him." Most everyone knows his song with Akon, "What You've Got", so we at least humored him and sang along.

Finally... it was time. My last NKOTB concert was 1990 at Giants Stadium, during the "Magic Summer Tour". I've waited 18 years for this...

(but let it be said that every single second was completely fantastic)

When the guys first came out on stage and came forward, Donnie came over and grabbed my hand. So, I was the first person Jordan went to at the meet and greet and the first person Donnie went to at the concert.

Donnie was giving Katie and I quite a bit of attention during the first song. We guessed he was trying to figure out if we were twins. (happens a lot).

Second song was "My Favorite Girl". Jordan cheated us out of his long, high, "She's my GIIIIIIRRRRRRLLLL!" at the end, and instead pointed his microphone out to the crowd. He looked over at us, and Katie and I, in unison, pointed back at him and screamed, "NO!!! YOU SING IT!!!" He laughed at us and said "just wait".

From then on out, Katie and I got tons of attention from Jordan. We were having a great time, dancing around and singing every lyric back to them, and he obviously appreciated it, because he kept laughing at us, winking, waving, etc... I swear, we got more attention from him than anyone else there. One time he winked and pointed to another girl in the front, and the girl next to Katie leaned over to her and said "he just cheated on you!"

Katie got several winks and a wave from Joe, and I got one wink from him.

I made eye contact with Jon a few times, but I couldn't get him to interact. He is by far the most uncomfortable on stage, and I think he was just concentrating on being where he was supposed to be. One time, he messed up his steps and Jordan just pushed him out of the way, and they laughed about it.

"Dirty Dancing" - definitely the most fun song off the new album. You can't go wrong with lyrics like "ooh, it's so crazy, she's like Baby, I'm like Swayze..."

um... "Baby I Believe In You". Classic Jordan, 1990 all over again. Same outfit - BETTER ABS.

"I'll Be Lovin' You" - Jordan redeemed himself at the end for cheating us on "My Favorite Girl." The security guard in front of us bust out laughing.

"Summertime" - Jordan and I pointed to each other and sang "the thought of you still makes me crazy..."

"Step By Step" - again, he was right in front of us and we got Jordan's full attention for STEPS 3 and 4.

"Hangin Tough" - waved our arms in the air and loved every second of it.

When they were finished, Donny and Danny jumped down off the stage, and ran past us, slapping our hands as they went.

It was over way too soon. It's amazing how fast two and a half hours can go when you're having the time of your life.

OK - concert over. I have tons of photos on Facebook.

We dediced to try and get into "Mixx", a club inside the Borgata. They had been advertising an "After party with New Kids On The Block." At 11:15 we got in line to get in and by midnight we were inside. We got some sodas (again, I'm wasn't drinking and had not eaten since 11am, so I was hoping to recharge on sugar and caffeine). We hung out in the club for a bit, but by 12:30, we were so exhausted, we decided to leave. We had been on our feet since 2 in the afternoon, and we figured that if any of the guys did show up, we would have to physically fight to get near them anyway. Turns out we missed Donnie and Joe arriving by about 5 minutes. Oh well.

When we left the club, we walked through the casino to get back to our room. I decided that since I was up $50, that we might as well play a little bit more, so we sat down at two slot machines. Wow - did it feel good to sit down! I took out a $20 and said "I'm going to just blow this $20 - because, let's face it... how much better could this day possibly get?" Katie said "no kidding". So, I put the $20 into the machine, hit the button ONCE. First spin. $20 turns into $76.

I pulled a George Constanza, stood up, threw my arms up in the air and said "I'M OUT". No where to go from there. Cashed out. (Katie lost another $10)

We went up to our room and ordered room service that arrived at 1:30 a.m. Best grilled cheese sandwich I've ever had.

Friday, September 26, 2008

i really love this kid

First, let me start by saying I am so excited, I can hardly stand it. Tomorrow is the big day!!! Afternoon in the Borgata casino, meet & greet and pre-show party with NKOTB, concert from the FRONT row, and then after-party at Mixx.

Dan and Jimmy decided that they would rather hang out in Middletown, than in a resort full of screaming New Kids fans - so they won't be joining Katie and I on this little trip after all.

Now - on to more important things...

Here's some photos of my little princess, playing "dress up" this week. I can already tell that she's going to grow up, loving clothes, just like her mommy! I think my favorite are her lacy white gloves...

Friday, September 19, 2008

and I'm like stop, let me take a mental shot of this moment - click, click click

The tour of all tours has offically kicked off.

Last night's Toronto concert is coming in with rave reviews. Here's the set list - don't know if it will change from venue to venue - but it is awesome!

It will be interesting to compare the concert that Katie and I go to at the Borgata with those of you who are going to Nasseau and Continental. Our venue is so much smaller - I'm thinking there will be adjustments. For example, they have a smaller "B" stage, at the back of the crowd that they use for a couple songs...

Songs with an "*" are new ones off "The Block". (Which has been playing constantly in my car since it was released on Sept 2nd.)

My Favorite Girl (YAY!!!)
The Right Stuff
Didn't I Blow Your Mind
Valentine Girl
Please Don't Go Girl
No More Games
Grown Man*
If You Go Away (LOVE THIS SONG!)
Two In The Morning*
Dirty Dancing*
Baby I Believe In You (instead of Jordan with an open white shirt and a fan - it's Jordan with NO shirt and leather pants)
Give It To You (Jordan solo)
Stay The Same (Joe solo)
Cover Girl (Donnie solo - and he didn't pull a girl up on stage)
I'll Be Loving You Forever
Click Click Click*
Step By Step
We Will Rock You

Best news of the day... I read that people WERE allowed to use their personal cameras during the VIP meet & geet - and that all five guys were there and after the offical photos were taken, they mingled for a bit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the car doesn't always make it over the top

On Sunday, Dan and I spent the day at Six Flags Great Adventure with Katie and Jimmy and our friends Matt and Heather.

Here's the breakdown of the day, intertwined with reviews of the roller coasters.

Arrived at the park just as they were about to open. As we pulled into the parking lot, I saw something that made me do a double-take, as I couldn't believe I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing...

Well, here... see for yourself...

Dan said "That's Kingda Ka" - he had seen a documentary on it, and when had mentioned it when I told him we were going to Great Adventure. This started the debate which raged internally for me the entire day... would I or wouldn't I?

My first roller coaster in a pretty long time. You sit in the seat, and then the seat rotates up, so that you are facing the ground - as if you were flying like Superman.
It's one thing to be sitting in a car, on a track - but another thing entirely to be facing the ground with nothing beneath you , and only the shoulder harness and ankle restraints holding you in. I was suprised at how scared I was, especially as we entered the first loop - going down, HEAD FIRST. My low point, was when we reached the top of the first hill, about to plunge, head first, I yelled out "I'd rather give birth do another baby than do this!"
I'm going to give this coaster a B+ for legitimately scaring me.

At this point in the day, everyone was going to ride "Kingda Ka".

I had been on this one several times back in high school - and once I even got my mother to go on it with me - so I knew it would be no biggie. It's a good starter coaster - decent drop, a few loops. Grade: C

Matt announced there was no way he was riding "Kingda Ka". I thought that I probably wouldn't have the guts to either.

Space Mountain x lame = the Dark Knight coaster.
Grade: D

The last two times I had been at Great Adventure - both in 1994, this ride was new, and I waited almost 3 hours each time to get on it. This time we walked right on! It's one where you sit with your feet dangling and the car hangs below the track.
I LOVE this coaster! It's a smooth ride with a decent drop and some good loops and twists.
Grade: A

Decided I probably could handle "Kingda Ka".

Holy crap. This coaster is insane.
First of all, the ride up to the top is very high and very long. Then when you get up there, you see that this coaster is not a short ride - it's HUGE! There are no upside down loops, but a lot of corkscrew twists and drops. Katie had warned, that there is one part where due to G-force, it's common to black out.
Sure enough - when we went through the one turn, suddenly, everything began to fade from the outside towards the inside and then for a second I completely blacked out. But then, I was fully alert again for two last humps and the coast into the station.
Grade: B (I'd give it an A, but that's the first time anything ever made me black out like that, and I didn't like it.)

Lunch time. - We were all feeling kind of sick and dizzy, so we sat down to eat and re-collect ourselves.

Dan announced that he would NOT be riding "Kingda Ka". I continued to stress over it.

At this point, I was really not feeling well - very dizzy from the heat and roller coasters. But, as Medusa was the only steel coaster left in the park (besides THE coaster) we went for it. Heather had said we could "digest while we waited in line" Good plan - but there was no line, so we got on, full stomachs and all. - Except for Dan, who decided he was done.
It is a good coaster - very much like Batman The Ride - feet dangling. But with this one, even though it has dangling feet, you are still up above the track.
Grade: B+

Matt decided he too was done with rides.

Then, it was time to face it.

As we walked towards the final coaster, I changed my mind constantly back and forth between doing it and not. I wanted to, and I knew I would be very disappointed in myself if I didn't, but I was SCARED!

Prolonging the enevitable, we stopped and watched some Tigers. They were gorgeous - but one scared us pretty badly. We were pressed against a huge glass window, and all of a sudden a huge tiger LEAPED out of a pond and right towards us, splashing the window with water. We all jumped pretty high!

GRR... still have to make a decision...

Stopped at a bench and the boys were sitting down. This is when Jimmy - who had spent the entire day saying "of course I'm going on that!" changed his mind, and said he couldn't do it.

So - that left the girls.

Here's a link with a video of the ride... check it out.

Heather, said, OK - let's go.

I said "damn it"

Katie, Heather and I walked to the line.

There was a sign that said "The car does not always make it over the top. If this happens, it will come back down and set for re-launch. This is a normal occurance."

I said "you've got to be kidding me...". Katie pushed me forward.

We got on the line, and saw a sign that said "120 minute wait from this point". We said, no way we were waiting, and started to walk away.

We realized that that wait time was only if the line winded back and forth through a whole area - which it did not. The true wait was only 15 minutes.

Got back on the line. Feeling totally sick and completely scared.

Timed the ride from "launch" until the end - it was 20 seconds. Decided there was nothing I couldn't handle for 20 seconds.

Got into the car. Told the girl checking the harness to "MAKE IT TIGHT!" She pressed down hard - I lost circulation in my legs, but felt secure.

Car moved into position. This was the scariest part. That few seconds felt like FOREVER. I kept saying stupid things like "I can't do this, this is insane, I am so scared" - Katie told me to shut up. Heather seemed totally chill - but she has jumped out of a plane before, so this didn't phase her.

Launch. 0-128 mph in 3 seconds. All we felt was SPEED.

About to go up. Yelled "OH MY GOD" - by then we were at the top.
Let out a chuckle, because the view was just way too cool.
Then we were down.
As we went over the big hump at the end, there was a feeling of total weightlessness.
Then it was over, and I said. "That was awesome."

My only regret was not doing it from the front row.

It was time to go home. On the way out, we bought Lauren a Batman cape. It goes great with her pink jelly high-heels.