On Seeking Frobriety.

It’s something I know I need to do.

For myself. For my family. For our ability to continue to function as normal human beings.

We need space between us and Frozen.

We need to admit that we are powerless over Let it Go and that our lives have become unmanageable with frozen fractals all around.

We need to realize that Frozen is a power greater than ourselves. And that is dangerous. So we need to find a power greater than Frozen. And there is only one. An act of true love – no wait.

We need to turn our will and our lives over to God for His help in fighting the curse of Do You Want to Build a Snowman being stuck on endless repeat in our heads like a Lamb Chops song on Crystal Meth.

This guy? Represents the monster that Froddiction can become.

Frozen Addiction

And it’s time we get Frober.

We started with baby steps.

When the kids would ask to listen to the soundtrack in the car, I would say….no.

It’s Mommy’s turn to pick the music.

This, of course, was met with wails of shock and terror, beggings, DTs, and inconsolable depression.

I would turn my music up louder to drown out the children in their time of suffering.

They would sing over the top, constantly cranking up their volume, shrieking with the ferocity previously only reached by Idina Menzel.

“CONCEAL, DON’T FEEL, DON’T LET THEM KNOW!!! WELL NOW THEY KNOW!!!!!!”

 

The eldest child began questioning my judgment with a desperate whimper in her tone, “But Mommy. Why would you do this to us?”

“We need a day without Frozen.”

She gasped, and sounding just like Elsa upon finding out that Arendelle was frozen over, said, “What?! I don’t remember a day without Frozen!!”

“I know, honey. I know. I need you to trust me that I know what is best for you.”

But my efforts can do little against the power of Frozaholism. Because once it has eaten its way into your children’s souls, no one can truly escape – not them, not you, not the cat.

Every night, after putting Ali to bed, we hear her belting the entire soundtrack word for word and frightfully out of tune, most assuredly standing atop her bed with her arms out and injuring her vocal cords beyond repair.

And Noah. Noah’s favorite song is the intro song, and he knows every syllable, and mutters them in perfect pitch under his breath in a continuous loop.

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s eating lunch…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s sitting on the toilet…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s riding in the car…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While he’s watching Thomas the Train at the insistence of his Father…

“na na na heya na…. ha heya ah na ah…na heya heya na ya oh ah ah na heya oh no ah na….”

While I’m trying to talk on the phone…

“NA NA NA HEYA NA…. HA HEYA AH NA AH…NA HEYA HEYA NA YA OH AH AH NA HEYA OH NO AH NA!!!!!!”

 

We will continue our journey to recovery, but one of those steps is admitting powerlessness. It’s true – I don’t know what is to become of our family.

Will we be able to find the right kind of help to free us from this gripping Froddiction?

Will we achieve a day of Frobriety?

Will my children grow up thinking that all Snowmen like warm hugs?

It’s impossible to know for certain. Because once it lives inside their soul, it’s impossible to truly detoxify. Which is why if you drive by our house on any random day, you’ll most likely see this:

Little Local Look n’ Find: Avondale Park.

Avondale Park Little Local Look N Find

During our first year of dating, Chris and I discovered the Itty Bitty Magic City Scavenger Hunt. It was an annual feature in The Birmingham News (now more commonly known as al.com) where once a year, they would choose a location and publish 20-30 pictures of microscopic details. The first one we did was in Five Points South, and we had our most memorable date ever walking up and down our city, looking for tiny clues. We studiously wrote down all of our answers and mailed them in (this was, after all, 14 years ago,) and we both won giant duffel bags full of Birmingham News-branded crap that we were SERIOUSLY proud of.

(We still use those duffel bags.)

We eagerly awaited the annual scavenger hunt after we got married, each year with a different location – The Botanical Gardens, various downtown city blocks, Aldridge Gardens, Sloss Furnaces, Railroad Park, Vulcan, plus others I’m sure I’m not remembering. Every time we departed with a deeper appreciation for that slice of our city, and with the elation only brought by a beautiful Spring day spent outside.

We even took Ali one year, but quickly decided that the level of detail with which we wanted to perform our hunt was best left to dates. We evangelically told all of our friends about the fun and got them hooked, creating a bit of a cult following for the Itty Bitty.

The Birmingham News didn’t publish the annual hunt in 2013, which was met with great sadness. We weren’t sure if it would return this year, and before it did (they actually created one for Birmingham, Huntsville, Orange Beach, and Mobile this year,) one of my converted friends bemoaned to me her extreme need for a scavenger hunt.

“WHY did they stop PUBLISHING it?!”

“I don’t know, friend. I don’t know.”

“You know what. YOU should publish one!”

“Me? Well, that’s not a bad idea…it would be fun finding the clues…”

“YOU SHOULD TOTALLY DO IT. LIKE, RIGHT NOW.”

And so I did.

After much pondering as to where the location should be, I decided on Avondale Park.

140401 Avondale Park

Built in 1886 but given a major renovation in 2011, the park is adjacent to downtown and has a vast history, which indicated to me that it would be a great spot to find interesting details for a scavenger hunt.

Also, it’s a park that I never visited until six months ago – Birmingham has many hidden treasures, and the 40 acres of Avondale Park are certainly among them.

140408 Cloud Watching at Avondale Park

It suffered many decades of neglect and bad reputation, but the revitalization of Avondale and renovation of the park itself has made it a gorgeous urban hot spot, and a place that more of us need to appreciate.

140408c Babies at Avondale Park

I mean – it’s so pristine that I couldn’t find a single Moist, Daze or Blaes tag to use as a clue. And I’ve pretty much found them at every park in the metro area.

Chris’ Aunt Kitty was in town for a few days, so I took her and the kids along. The last time she’d visited that park was fifty years ago, so getting to see it in its new and quite dashing state was a thrill for her.

The kids loved the playgrounds, especially the duck-guarded slides.

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After which Noah herded the ducks back to where they belonged.

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But in between playground visits, they were happy to help me find clues for you.

So. Without further ado, here’s the First Grasping for Objectivity Little Local Look n’ Find.

Here are the rules and information you’ll need:

1. All 26 photographs are located in the confines of Avondale Park, and I tried to make sure that the items were semi-permanent and unique enough that there could only be one.
2. A lot of them can be found with the help of your kids, but some might be difficult, so you will need to make the decision as to how determined you’re going to feel after you start.
3. Submit detailed information as to the location of the items on this form by May 31. You don’t have to find every item to win, so don’t obsess too much.
4. There will be prizes!! The person who finds the most items will receive a $50 Gift Certificate to Picture Birmingham. In case of tie, I’ll do a drawing. Also, five participants will be randomly chosen and will receive a a 6-pack of Picture Birmingham note cards.
5. The clues are below for you to study, but be sure to snag the printable version before you head to the park.
6. Do not tamper with the clues to hinder other finders. Someone did that to us one fateful year and we still haven’t forgiven them.
7. If you get stuck, you can email or tweet me for an extra hint, but I’m not guaranteeing an immediate response.
8. While you’re in the area, I recommend eating at Silvertron (my review), FIVE (my review), Slice Pizza (my review), or Saw’s Soul Kitchen (my review of their other location, Saw’s Juke Joint.) You won’t regret any of them.

Here are the clues.

Avondale Park Page One


Avondale Park Page Two

If enough people enjoy this, then I won’t wait a year before creating another one. So get out there and enjoy our beautiful spring!

A Rainy Day With Thomas.

On Monday morning, nine out of ten Facebook Statuses in my feed were bemoaning a flooded basement, a flooded back yard, a flooded street, or a flooded everything.

Sunday was slightly moist around here.

And of course, that would be the day we had picked out to visit Thomas the Train.

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It was the last day he was to be in Birmingham, so we couldn’t change our minds.

But Thomas was a non-negotiable – rain or worse. Because Noah has asked to return, nearly on a daily basis, since last year’s visit. It is pretty much his crowning achievement from the age of two.

“I REMEMBER riding on Thomas!!”, he said, at least a dozen times, as if he knew he shouldn’t actually be able to remember things from being two. “I REMEMBER getting the bracelet!!”

…because red Paper Bracelets are the best part of any event.

The rain did not lessen the palpability of Noah’s ecstasy.

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Nothing could.

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Thomas had gotten some work done since last year, and actually had a moving mouth and eyes, and cheeks so soft and realistic that when they moved, they looked rather eerily like we were in the cartoon. Making me wonder why no one has bought a small island and turned it into a Sodor Theme Park.

Thomas Moving

We skipped all of the other rather wet Thomas-y activities and went immediately to the awning to wait for our ride, which didn’t seem to upset the children at all.

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And, thanks to the rain, the train was nearly all ours.

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Noah got some quality time with the Conductor,

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And after spending much time silently staring,

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From every angle,

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Being as still as he’s been for at least a month,

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He rewarded me for making his dreams come true by making my dreams come true – and actually looking in the general(ish) direction of my camera for a whole. Thirty. Seconds.

Noah on Thomas 2


Noah on Thomas


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He even let me see a quick glimpse of his true excitement,

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And wanted to take a train selfie.

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We all left calling it a success,

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And now begins another 365 days of the question, “Is it time to go see Thomas yet?”