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It took longer to park, than it did for Ralphie to be born; Kip took 36 hours – Ralphie took 30 minutes (Kelly slept for two days after she was born – it’s true what they say about first impressions).

Ralphie is the third child, he probably knew he better be quick or he might not be born. “Where’s Ralphie? I thought I gave birth to him yesterday? Is he with you?”

115-1564_IMGOne of the few fights Tony and I have had (when two worrywarts find each other, they don’t fight) was over keeping track of Ralphie. We were at the Boboli Gardens in Florence.

Kip and I stepped off the path for a moment to take a photo. When we stepped back on the path, Ralphie, Tony, and Kelly were gone.

We spent the next hour looking for them. We found Tony and Kelly OUTSIDE the palace gates. “What were you thinking?” I had a very ugly American moment as I sort of yelled at Tony.

Where’s Ralphie?

We spent another hour searching the gardens for Ralphie.

When we finally found him he said, “I was so scared. My heart was pounding so hard in my chest, I thought someone was going to ask me what time it was!”

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In the spirit of celebrating the third child’s birthday – Ralphie is getting a repost:ralphie 003
August 4, 2011

Ralphie is back. This is exactly what he looked like when we left him in Bangkok. He said a couple of red flags went up when he went through security with nothing more than his flip flops and passport.

I should say Ralphie WAS back. He was back long enough to shave, shower, do his laundry, terrify us with tales of his travels throughout Southeast Asia, and tell us he loved us, but he has the rest of his life to spend with us and only two weeks to spend with his friends.

My response, “Just promise me you are going to live a long time.”

“Mom, do you KNOW what I have been through?

We practically stayed in a crack house in Kuta (that’s what nine bucks a night will get you in Bali),

we were in a riot and tear gassed (tastes like swallowing hot chilies) along with hundreds of people yelling ‘Allah Akbar’ (what they didn’t tell us in the email was that they were chased by police with “huge” machine guns),

I road on the back of a motorcycle driven by a kid who was so young I had to put my feet down every time we stopped so we would not fall over (the kid’s high pitched voice, “So where are you from?” was Ralphie’s first clue that he was in for a scary ride – “I’m not in a hurry,” he kept telling the kid),

merchants argued over me like I was a piece of meat (which was initially overwhelming, but he ended up working the system and getting giant plates of French fries for .50),

I was offered drugs (and other disgusting things that I can’t write here – oddly enough, that never happens to me when I travel) . . . .

he went on and on and on . . .

they don’t even have seatbelts in Indonesia, I think I can survive in America!”

This is suppose to make me feel better?

On the upside –

He’s looking forward to the next time we can travel together as a family. Apparently staying in culturally insensitive resorts where the people are paid to be nice to you is more tolerable than sleeping in a crack house.

Sorry Ralphie, the next vacation we take is a cross country train trip with Kelly for her college graduation to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Theme Park, and even after everything you have been through, I just don’t think you can handle that kind of hardcore American travel.

Happy Birthday!

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I found this “before” photo as I was looking at the Italy pics. Motivating – weight loss and travel!