Halloween started in July for us. Mark was offered the job of Art Director of Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream this year and jumped at it. Was it because he wanted to make scary mazes for the masses or because he got to live in a hotel like a bachelor all summer? Hmmm…

Have you ever heard the saying, “The mechanic’s car is always broken down.”? I guess it’s not really a saying, but more of an ironic phenomenon. My Mom once called a company to come fix her car’s cracked windshield and the truck pulled up with a huge crack in it’s own windshield.  Well, whatever that’s called, we have it at our house. Thousands of people paid lots of money to see my husband’s amazing Halloween handiwork  at Busch Gardens:

And OUR house?  Well, you be the judge:

I feel sorry for women married to masseuses, chefs & gigolos.


Sometimes a photo is blurry, off center and has lots of crazy stuff all around it…but it turns out to be your favorite. Not because it reminds me of our trip to Busch Gardens in 99 degree, 100% humidity. Not because there were no lines since the park was empty because we were the only ones dumb enough to be out in that heat. No, it’s my favorite because of one small gesture from one brother to the other:

Zeke was finally tall enough to ride on the Air Grover coaster  by himself with Nate. He was so excited. It was a really big deal for me too. I had just let a minimum-wage teenager strap my children to a flying piece of metal and let them go! (Yikes!) When they got off, they didn’t say much.

“How was is, guys?”


“Did you like it?”

“Yes, but I don’t want to do it again.”


When I got to the photo kiosk and saw the photo of their ride, I started to cry uncontrollably. Happy, relieved tears. (Of course the estrogen coursing through my body from riding on my monthly estro-cycle helped that along) Don’t see it? Look at the photo through my eyes: Zeke has his “I’m overwhelmed, a little scared and unsure” hands over his ears which means he can’t hang onto the safety bar in front of him. He’s trying to keep his ears covered and at the same time, hang on to the side pad to keep himself from being thrown around. Protecting his little brother, (the one he usually screams at, “Get out of my room!”) Nate put up his “arm-seatbelt” to hold his brother down and keep him from flying out of the coaster. Not only that, but both of them remembered (during their harrowing, near-death horror ride) to “Look up at the camera and smile.” like I asked them too. I have this image of them:


So I stood at the kiosk crying. Not because the photo cost me a ridiculous amount of money. And not just because I was relieved Zeke didn’t fly out of the coaster and land at my feet, but because in that one, small little gesture, I know deep-down that my boys love and care about each other. They have each other’s backs! On the long list of things you try to instill into your children, this is one of the big ones.  I may actually be doing something right. I don’t really know what it was or how I did it, but I’m taking credit for it.

PS I’m writing this post so I have a “Happy Place” to come to when I start to hear, “Moooommm…Zeke licked my face!” “Moooommmyyyy…tell Nate I will keep licking his face until he gives me Wolverine!”




…an hour before these were taken.