Looking Forward To The Next One

Posted in Travel on March 26th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Well, here we are only 2 months out from our last trip to Disney World, and I’m already wanting to go back.  That’s nothing new, it’s an awesome place, but I’m also reading about many changes taking place.  Ok, so I’m not exactly planning the next trip (step one would be how to fit our family of soon-to-be 7 into the minivan along with a week’s worth of luggage for a 20 hour drive), but articles like the following tempt me.  Especially  interesting: Disney’s $1 billion Next Generation project, which includes interactive line queues – they’re adding things like an interactive mystery experience to the line of the Haunted Mansion attraction.  And apparently they’ve already added interactive video games to Soarin’ and Space Mountain, none of which I had noticed on our last visit!  Maybe because we did the Fast Pass?  That reminds me, Disney is going to try a new concept as part of the Next Gen project: guests will be able to book their ride times for various attractions from their hotels or from home ahead of time, drastically reducing or even eliminating the need to wait in line (and to see all these brand spanking new queue attractions?).  Also something I missed this last time around: the new playground and interactive video games in the line for the Winnie the Pooh ride.  Now where would they have room for that, I wonder?  But no wonder that we didn’t notice these enhancements; that ride normally has an over 40 minute wait even in the down season, so we don’t usually indulge in it.

Lots of interesting changes and enhancements on the horizon, check them out for yourself.

VIPs For A Day (part three of…. well, I’ll try to make this the last part)

Posted in Travel on July 16th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve read my first two blog posts about our trip to King’s Island, then you know that I’ve rambled and chronicled, and now I’m blue in the face and ready to move on.  I would like to rate most of their rides though for those who are curious and/or contemplating a visit to the theme park.  Somewhere there is a Discovery Channel show about the 10 Most Extreme Roller Coasters I’d like to see – I hear King’s Island has 3 or more on the list!  Going to hope that it’s on youtube…  If you haven’t read my previous post, here is my ride experience scale: 1♦ = not so good, while 5 ♦ = awesome!

The Racer – 3♦.  A wooden racing roller coaster that doesn’t really race.  According to our guide, people on the different racing trains would trash-talk each other so much that they built a wall to separate the two train colors.  When we rode, the first time the blue train was not operating, and the second time, the trains did not go at the same time.  Still a fun wooden coaster though!

Flight Deck – 1♦.  Formerly called Top Gun, but whatever you call it, we did not like it.  It’s a roller coaster whose car is suspended from the track above the car, which basically amounted to a lot of swinging.  Ok for me, not my favorite, but it made my husband sick.

Vortex – ¼♦ – This one only gets a quarter star to put it on the map –  my map key didn’t exactly contain a zero, so let’s give it a quarter star just because it’s a coaster.  But otherwise, yuck.  Jerky, but without any real thrills.  Reminds me of the Shockwave they used to have at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee Illinois.  Funny how I used to ride that over and over, especially near park closing when it would empty out.  We would just stay on Shockwave until they kicked us off!  But as an adult, the ride type doesn’t work for me.

Invertigo –  3♦.  I need to go back on this one when it isn’t lunch time!  I think the Flight Deck/Invertigo/haven’t had lunch yet combo did me in as I  felt a bit queasy after this one.  Basically, you go up and through a loop, and do the same thing backwards.  The cool thing about this one is that you face other riders, which I actually don’t know if that’s a cool thing or not – our guide recommended we try sitting on either the front or back of this one so we didn’t have to face strangers on the coaster.  I did enjoy how this one whizzed through the station though, and like I said, I will have to try it again on a full stomach.

Sponge Bob 3D Ride – 4½♦.  I really liked this one!  A lot of fun, and much more movement than its counterpart at Universal  Studios, the Jimmy Neutron ride.  It’s a 3D Sponge Bob movie where the seats move as you move about Sponge Bob’s world.  The scenery is great, and not only is it 3D, but the rider actually gets to move along with the movie.  As a bonus, the movie is very funny, and I loved the story!

Whitewater Canyon – 4½♦.  You know the type – a large round boat makes it way down a “river”, complete with rapids, drops, and waterfalls.  I always love this type of ride and much of the fun is riding it with your friends or even  strangers trying to see who is going to get the most wet!  The day we went, it was an unseasonal 70°, and getting wet wasn’t quite as enjoyable as usual.  This is actually one of the smaller versions of this type of ride that I’ve been on, and the boat seated 6 people instead of the usual 8, 10, or 12 as I’ve seen before.  But this version has an added element of fun – friends, family, and people who have ridden the ride can take revenge on riders by putting in a quarter for a chance to launch a water cannon at passing boats.  This part is lots of fun, although they need to get the change machine working so more people can squirt!  We went on with some kids who didn’t get wet enough in their opinion, so they rode again while we kept watch at the water cannons and succeeded in getting them SOAKED!

Backlot Stunt Coaster – 2♦.  Lameness.  But remember, I’m used to Universal Studios since we try to trek to Orlando yearly.  This has nothing on Universal.  But I suppose for younger kids, it could instill a feeling of bravery as they race past exploding police cars.  It goes kind of fast up a winding track, which is kind of different, but other than that, the excitement kind of fizzled, and the ride isn’t all that long.  The brightly colored cars you ride in are super-cute, but does that really matter?

Adventure Express – 1¾♦.  This is also kind of lame, which is alright, not every coaster has to be top thrill.  But this one is like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Disney, but that is bigger and faster.  Adventure Express was going alright until the rider finds himself in a climatic tunnel, climbing a lift past moving robots and everything.  Then when you reach the top – nothing.  Nada.  Literally – the ride ends here.  What the ?

Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle – 4½♦.  You ride through scenes of Scooby Doo trying to shoot the bad guys with a laser gun attached to your car – cool!  Even better, I actually beat my husband on this one!  This ride is a lot like Buzz Lightyear at Disney, and I can never even get close to Hubby’s score on that one.  He must have had an off-ride though, cuz the second time we rode he beat me silly again.  Oh well, this ride is awesomely themed.  They remembered quite a few of the bad guys from the old Scooby Doo tv show, and there were sound bites galore.  The castle looks awesome from the outside,  and we even drove a Mystery Machine:

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Other fun rides at this park that deserve at least an honorable mention are the railroad (just a standard train ride, but oh-so-relaxing after a huge day of coaster riding!), the Wild Thornberry’s River Adventure (kind of a lame log-flume type ride, but still lots of fun), the Eiffel tower (we didn’t ride it, but it was gorgeous to look at), and Dodgem (plain ole bumper cars, but when is the last time hubby and I got to ride ‘n bump kid-free?  I don’t even remember!).  Because we splurged and got the guided tour, we even had time to catch some shows – an ice show and an 80’s review.  The ice skaters were pretty good; especially one guy who even did a triple axle!  The 80’s show was fun, even though many of the performers were incapable of both singing and dancing at the same time.  There was a special  Michael Jackson tribute, even though he had passed away only a week before our visit.  But there were afros, mullets, big bangs, leg warmers, bright colors, even giant Rubik’s cubes, and it was fun to sing along to the rockin’ 80’s tunes.  One did get the feeling however, that not one member of the show had any idea of what the ’80’s was actually like…

So there you have it.  I’ve reviewed and rated the rides I rode and found worth a mention.  If you are thinking of visiting, you should know that King’s Island also has a huge kids area, and many more rides I didn’t mention.  We tried to stay away from any rides with a lot of spinning or anything that looked too crazy (especially this one called Delirium):

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It looked a little too crazy/dizzy for me; maybe if you go to King’s Island, you can try it and let me know what it’s like in the comments!

Busiest Weekend EVER! Part Two

Posted in Everyday Life on April 19th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(continued from a previous blog post)

So here’s a recap of Sunday – church, brunch, Hannah Montana movie – and that is where I left off.

So we get to the Hannah Montana movie, and of course our 9-month-old son wakes up from his nap just in time for the movie (couldn’t be awake to play at church, couldn’t be awake to indulge in brunch, alas – that’s always the way when you have kids – they sleep thru everything good, and I swear it’s a rule – they always wake when the irony is thick!)  But, because the Hannah Montana movie is a musical, our 3 youngest were kept too busy to perform their usual awful antics at the movie theater.  It was a girly movie, especially with a double love story plot, but our little boy is only 9-months-old, so he didn’t notice the girlishness.  Instead he loved the musical interludes, and he clapped to each one enthusiastically.  For some reason, and I’ve written about this before, the movie theater turns our normally sweet 2-year-old into a little stripper.  Luckily, by the time the idea to take her clothes off occurred to her today, it was near the end of the movie, so she only got as far as taking off her socks and shoes – although she did make sure to note (yell) while doing so, “Don’t look at me – I take clothes off!”  Ok, Disney, if you don’t want people looking, why are you taking your clothes off?  Such is the logic of a 2-year-old, I guess.
We had no major spills this time ( I’m referring to our last experience when we saw Monsters Vs. Aliens and we somehow dumped an entire soft drink into the lady’s purse who was sitting behind us – major oops!), and today our baby was on his best behavior as well because of all the music in the movie – something that I think saved us as far as our 3 youngest kids’ behavior at the movies today.  As for the movie itself, I enjoyed it more than I did Monsters Vs. Aliens, probably because I actually got to watch this one.  But an extra nice surprise for me was the country music add-ins – surprise performances from Taylor Swift and my favorite group, Rascall Flatts.  They sang one of their best songs acoustically as if they were relatives just sitting around jamming at a family get-together (can this be MY family get-together?), and it was thoroughly enjoyable.  Miley Cyrus even  showed her country roots in a song which attempts to revive line-dancing; I guess kids these days (now I sound like I’m 80 – GREAT, when did THAT happen?!?) have a dance they do to this song, but whatever, I kind of liked the song.  Overall, I truly enjoyed the country theme that was abundant in this movie – groovin’ country music, gorgeous farm fields, cowboys ropin’ horses…  what’s not to like?  There was also a surprise (for me) appearance by Jan Levinson Gould from the tv show, The Office.  Of course in this movie, she wasn’t Jan – she was some southern belle who played Miley’s dad’s love interest – almost as far away from Jan as one could be, but I still enjoyed the Office reference.  Also, keep in mind that this is a Disney film, so there are LOTS of prat-fallish types of humor, as well as recurring movie themes.  For example, ‘lobster trouble’ (ala Splash, circa 1984), ‘switching identities for different dinner dates’ (ala Mrs. Doubtfire, circa 1993), ‘major celebrity comes in to save a town’ (ala Wayne’s World 2, circa 1993 or ala Mystery, Alaska circa 1999), it’s always best to be yourself’ (ala…  wow, WAY TOO MANY TO MENTION – take your pick…)

So anyway, I have to (reluctantly) admit that I was pleasantly surprised with the Hannah Montana movie – plenty of stuff in this one for the parents as well as the tweens and even the stripping two-year-olds.  But the movie wasn’t as plot-less as I had hoped –  in other words, we didn’t get home until 2:55 – just 20 short minutes before we had to leave for a class we had signed up for through church.  So for the next 20 minutes we scrambled around – letting dogs out, repacking diaper bags, changing diapers, etc.  We arrived at our class pretty much on time, though a bit exhausted, thank you very much!

The class was great!  We learned a lot about our church – their beliefs, their history, as well as their foundations for building a relationship with Christ – a very well-spent 3 hours.  And we got to meet other couples at our table too – which is memorable for me because they were surprised to learn we had 4 kids – and I quote, “You don’t look old enough to have 4 kids!”  NICE!

Following the class was a great dinner of homemade pasta provided by a local chef.  Following the delicious dinner was a tour of the north campus of our church – we worship in the south campus, so it was nice to learn the ins and outs of the north campus – so awesome!  Our oldest daughter was so excited to show us where her Sunday school was held, and their rooms for youth were VERY impressive!  There was a room with a stage for youth productions, and it even  had backstage areas, which is almost more than I can say for one of our community theater’s stages, haha!  Also, there was a game room with multiple foosball tables and ‘carpet ball’ – something new to me, but a game I’d definitely like to try!  One of the youth rooms had state-of-the-art stage lights and restaurant-style booths for kids to ‘hang out’ in…  Overall, it was a fun evening, and I learned a lot.  But, as became common for today, we had to rush from the church class in order to be home in time for the community theater’s play reading committee meeting and my much anticipated Cubs game.  I was looking forward to this game for days.  It was a long series (most are 3 game, some are 2 game, this one was 4 game) against the Cubs rival – the St. Louis Cardinals, with whom the Cubs are vying for first place.  The game was at night, which is rare for a Sunday, so I was VERY excited about rounding out my weekend with such a game.  But alas, the darn rain had its way, and the game was postponed.  So only play reading meeting to look forward to for me – at least I didn’t have to rush the meeting and kick people too hard to leave my house since there was no Cub’s game!  And for once, I think we actually achieved a lot at the play reading committee meeting.  Probably because of the fact that there were only 4 of us in attendance – but hey, maybe that ‘s what needs to be done in order to achieve something…  too many people get in each others way, I guess.  It will be interesting to see what the absent members think of the decisions the four of us made while they were absent – I hope the decisions stick!

In summary, a great, if extremely exhausting weekend.  Come on now, would I have it any other way?

Random Kid Stuff

Posted in Kids on February 6th, 2009 and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

The other day, my husband reminded me of a cute story about something our oldest daughter did when she was younger, probably around 4 years old.  He said I should write it down somewhere so we don’t forget about it, so I decided to write something about all four of our wonderful kids, starting with the oldest and going down.  Here’s a visual:

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TAYLOR – About 5 years ago, we began finding the letters “WCPL” all over the house.  The letters were always written together like a word, and they were everywhere – walls, books, VHS movies, chairs, everywhere.  We couldn’t figure out what word our then-4-year-old was trying to spell, so we had a talk about not writing where we’re not supposed to, cleaned it all up, and moved on.  A few weeks later, I took my daughter to the library to check out some books and movies, and that’s when I saw the labels on the VHS cases – WCPL = Williams County Public Library!  She had noticed that all of her books and movies that came from the library had those letters on them, so I guess she figured things were supposed to be labeled WCPL – hehehe!

SAMANTHA – Sammie is a very unique child.  She can be a real spitfire, but she just has this incredible spirit about her…  But she’ll ask me questions that I have no idea how to answer.  When her older sister was her age, she would ask the normal kid questions about life and how things work, and even if she didn’t phrase her questions correctly, it was always easy for me to figure out what she wanted to know and where she was coming from.  Not true with Samantha!  Since half the time I don’t know what she’s asking about, I can’t think of any of her confusing questions to share here on the blog, but I will say that she is the type of kid who asks the embarrassing questions in public – and loudly.  We went to a nursing home to sing Christmas carols during the holidays, and there was a gentleman in a wheelchair who suffered from a muscle illness that made his tongue swell.  He loved the caroling and really got into it, singing quite loudly.  This got Sammie’s attention.  She asked me, “Does your tongue hang out because you get so old?”  She just has such a different way of looking at things…  This is the same kid who asked me one time (really loudly of course) why someone was wearing purple underwear in the bathroom stall next to us!

DISNEY – It’s funny because Disney and Sammie look very much alike, almost like twins years apart.  But their personalities are night and day.  The other day, Disney, our 2-year-old, looked up at the sky and said, “Airplane!  See it, on ceiling?”  Awwww…..

CHRISTOPHER – I remembered something I forgot to mention about my son’s 6-month doctor visit.  The nurse said he should be eating 3 meals a day – something that seems obvious, but I’m actually really glad she mentioned it!  When you have a baby and you’re used to popping bottles in his mouth all the time, you forget that when he’s old enough to be eating solid foods that he needs meals just like big people!  My son loves all kinds of food; he tries to grab as much as he can, and he shoves it into his mouth with his little fists.  As he gets older, I’m starting to notice the difference between girls and boys, especially when it comes to their eating habits.  Boys are messier and more enthusiastic eaters, while girls tend to be dainty and more picky.  But again, maybe these are just differences in my kids, rather than a difference based on gender, who knows.  And from what I remember, all the kids started out not being picky about their food – they were just so happy to be experiencing flavors after an entire life of only formula!

I have been blessed with 4 kids, and they have 4 very individualistic personalities.  It’s really neat to watch how they interact with each other.  Well, except when the interacting involves fighting!

My New Pet

Posted in animals on December 15th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve wanted a new pet for awhile, mostly since my cat passed away almost a year ago now.  What I want most is another cat – I love cats, and it would be the perfect type of pet for our household.  But unfortunately, I’m allergic to cats.  When I had my cat, it was a constant struggle to decide if I should pet her or not.  I always wanted to of course, but then I would itch for hours, my eyes would water, and sometimes I’d get hives.  And, my allergy symptoms were worse during my 4 pregnancies.  I just don’t want to go through that again – so no cat for us.  We have a Jack Russell Terrier mix, so any type of animal she’ll want to chase and bark at is out also – which means no rats, ferrets, small birds, etc.  So that leaves me with reptiles or bugs, I guess.  And the only reptile I’m interested in owning is a tortoise.  Those can be kind of costly and I’m not entirely sure that my Jerk Russell Terrier mix won’t want to hunt it, so I’m going to hold off on the tortoise for a little bit.  Also complicating the situation is that I really don’t have any extra time to spend with a pet, so that limits my options even further.  So lately I’ve been in limbo, trying to decide what to get.  But the other day, a new pet sort of fell into my lap.

It’s a ladybug I found in the house – normally I’d let any bugs go outside that I find in the house, but it’s way too cold out for a ladybug, and I don’t want him to suffer while he froze to death.  So I looked up what ladybugs eat, and I found out that their favorite food is aphids, which are an even smaller group of insects.  Knowing I couldn’t get any of those easily, I put a drop of honey in a little container with the ladybug.  He went over to it and started eating it!  So I put a little drop of water in there too, and he must have smelled that or something, because he left the honey and went over to the water – it was really interesting to watch.  He’s survived in captivity about a week now, and I have to say I’m getting a little attached to him as a pet.  It started out as just a fun little project, and I didn’t expect it to live more than a few days.  But he did, and I’ve named him Francis (like the ladybug from A Bug’s Life), and he is my secret pet – the kids don’t know about him.  If they did, he’d be dead already because my 4-year-old adores bugs and often smothers them with love – literally.  I think today I’ll go out and get Francis some grass for his container, because earlier when I fed him, he REFUSED to go back into his container!  I’m not kidding; he was sticking to my finger and just doing everything possible to not get locked back in there.  Finally, I put him on a Q-tip and cut it to fit in the container and locked him in.  I feel a little badly that I’ve kidnapped this ladybug, but I think I’m his only chance at life.  Outside, he’d freeze, and if I let him go into my house, I don’t think he’d be able to find food and water and he’d either die or go into hibernation until a kid or a dog got him.

So anyway, I guess I have my new pet.  I still don’t expect him to last very long, but for now it’s fun just taking care of an animal, especially since he’s my little secret.  If he’s still around in another week or so, I’ll take his picture and post it.  Say hi to Francis!

Miss Kasandra Scarlet Did It In The Spa With The Dumbell

Posted in Uncategorized on August 23rd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The classic board game Clue is getting a makeover.  Sure, there’s been lots of variations of it over the years; among them Simpsons Clue, Disney’s Haunted Mansion Clue, Dvd Clue, and Clue Jr.  But now they are giving the game a more modern look by changing characters, weapons, and rooms.  Here are some of the changes:

 – Colonel Mustard is now Jack Mustard, a former football player
 – Professor Plum is now Victor Plum, a billionaire video game designer
 – Mr. Green is now Jacob Green, an African-American
 – New Rooms: theater, spa and guest house
 – Weapons: Hasbro replaced the lead pipe, revolver and wrench with a dumbbell, trophy and poison
 – Each of the characters has a special sleuthing power

Hmm, I’m not so sure about this.  I tend to like things the way they are.  I’ve played both versions of a few board games that have been modernized, like Pay Day and Life, and I strongly prefer the original versions.  I guess we’ll have to see, although it will probably be a long time before I try the new Clue because I buy my games at the thrift store.  The only way the new Clue will get to the thrift store super quick is if it really stinks!

We’ve Got To Get Away… We’ve Got To Run Away!

Posted in Kids on August 13th, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This post is titled after a line from my favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz.  In case you live in a hole or you’re Amish, the movie is about a girl named Dorothy who runs away and gets swept into a mystical land.  Of course, if you’re Amish, I don’t know why you’re reading my blog, but I’m glad you are.  But the reason I’m writing this is that it’s happened – we’ve had our first threat of running away from a kid.  For those of you who know our family, you get only one guess as to who it was.  Got your guess?  Ok, it was Samantha – SURPRISE!  It’s funny because my husband and I were just discussing this a few days ago.  We talked about how seemingly every little kid plans to run away at one time or another.  We also talked about how if any of our kids were going to run away, we both thought it would be Samantha (she’s 4, by the way, if you don’t know us, and she’s always been a firecracker, even as far back as her womb-dwelling days).  And now here we are, mere days later, and she brings it up.  She didn’t attempt it or say it out of anger; what happened is this:  She was bouncing on our bouncing zebra toy, which actually belongs to her little sister, Disney.  Since Disney is almost 2, seeing Samantha on the bouncing zebra made her suddenly decide that she wanted to play on it, of course.  So I asked Sammie to give Disney a turn, and she refused.  I started threatening things like making her take a nap, time-out, and taking toys away, and for each punishment, she had an answer.

“I’m going to have to make you take a nap then.” was met with  “I won’t sleep.”

“Then I’ll have to take away one of your toys.” was followed by “Then I’ll run away.”

Well, the situation was resolved when Disney asked for a popsicle.  I was more than happy to give her one because she is being SO good today; polar opposite of the hellish day she made for me yesterday.  The new popsicles I bought today weren’t frozen yet, and all we had was some random soccer ball popsicle I found in the freezer.  I gave it to her, totally over-emphasizing what a good girl she’s been today so hopefully she’ll get the message and stay this way.  But I gave it to her knowing we might have a problem when I didn’t have any for the other kids, which is a golden rule of parenting that must not be broken:  if you have 2 kids, obtain things and give them out in twos.  If you have 3 kids, you must always have 3 treats, toys, what have you.  Whatever it is, there always has to be one per kid – I call this the ‘separate but equal law of parenting’.  So today I broke the separate but equal law, and guess what I got in return?  A tantrum, of course.  I explained to Sammie that Disney got the popsicle because she was being good, and that Sammie was not being good.  She said, “But I’m being good now!”  And I agreed, but I also explained that I had said she would be punished for not doing as I said by sharing with her sister and so this was her punishment.  She threw a tantrum, but got over it rather quickly.  I think she might have actually learned a lesson.

But back to the running away.  I think every kid tries it or at least thinks about it.  But of course, since they’re kids, the plans are never very well thought out.  Like everyone, I tried it to, and my plan was packing a can of spaghettios in a suitcase.  I was thinking ahead about being hungry, but of course I hadn’t planned where I would be going or even how I was going to open that can of spaghettios.  I don’t even remember what prompted my decision to run away, which says something about how insignificant my parents’ wronging me really was.  One time when my sister wanted to run away, she went so far as to call our aunt to come pick her up – luckily my aunt called my mom to double-check, but at least my sister had a plan.  Most kids who think about running away don’t have a good solid plan, and many of them realize this before they actually leave the house.  Let’s hope we are lucky enough to have that happen with Samantha if she decides to follow through on her threat.

Meet Dow Jones And His Sister, Indiana

Posted in Current Events, Kids on August 2nd, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Maybe it’s because I have a daughter named Disney, but for whatever reason, these news stories about people with unusual names interest me.  Here is a follow up story to the one I posted the other day about a family with the last name of Jones who named their kids Indiana and Dow…
(CNN) — When you hear the name “Indiana Jones,” you think of an archaeologist carrying an idol and dodging a giant boulder. When you hear about “Dow Jones,” you might wonder if it’s up or down that day. However, in this case, Indiana and Dow Jones are siblings, 12 and 7 years old, respectively.
Dow and Indiana Jones participate in many sporting events. Indiana says, “announcers love to say our names.”

Indiana Elizabeth Jones shared her story with the iReport community, and we spoke with her mother, Jennifer Jones. The Port Deposit, Maryland, resident says Indiana got her name simply because her husband’s family is from that state.

As for Dow Joseph Jones, there was serious talk of naming him Jack Ryan Jones, to keep the Harrison Ford theme. (Jack Ryan is the character Ford played in a series of action movies.) Instead, her husband named their son Dow on a dare while Jennifer was asleep in the hospital bed after giving birth.

She said she cried when she found out and even thought about having Dow’s name changed.

CNN.com asked users to share their unusual names after a 9-year-old New Zealand girl named Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii won the right to change her name.

Dozens of members of iReport.com community explained the stories behind their odd names, as well as what they’ve experienced in their day-to-day lives.

Some names might not seem problematic until they’re actually used on a daily basis. Open Weaver Banks of Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey (speaking of odd names), says that she shared her story with iReport.com in hopes that parents would think twice before giving their children an unusual name.

Open is an unusual name, but it’s not necessarily a name that one might expect to cause regular difficulties. Weaver Banks, however, says that she often has problems with it.

“I have a hard time using my credit cards for personal items, because clerks will accuse me of using a business card. I cannot tell my name to someone without having to explain it. Some days, it is exhausting, and I can’t even disguise the annoyance in my voice.”

Banks’ childhood was “painful” because of her name, too. “I still give my mother a hard time about the name choice, and she tries to explain that she was young, she liked how it sounded, it was 1970 and various other reasons,” she explains. “I actually tried going by another name for a year, and I realized that as much as I truly hate my name, it is embedded in me and so much a part of my experience.”

Some people avoid the use of their name altogether to avoid questions, confusion or embarrassment. “At times, for the sake of avoiding an uncomfortable conversation or throwing someone off guard, I answer to the names of ‘Mary’ or ‘Kelly’,” says Bluzette Martin of West Allis, Wisconsin. At restaurants, “the thought of putting an employee through the pain of guessing how to spell and pronounce ‘Bluzette’ just isn’t worth it to me.”

Martin was named after “Bluzette,” an up-tempo jazz waltz written by Jean “Toots” Thielemans. Despite her daily problems with this name, it certainly has its perks, like when she met Thielemans in 1987 at a club in Los Angeles. “When I met [him], he thanked my mother,” she says.

She called her mother in the middle of the night and told her that she had a surprise for her. She gave the phone to Thielemans, and he started doing his famous whistling, to the tune of “Bluzette.”

Even celebrities aren’t immune to the use of unusual names. Take boxer George Foreman’s children, all named George. (Or actor Jason Lee’s son, Pilot Inspektor, or comedian Penn Jillette’s daughter, Moxie CrimeFighter.) These are just-plain bizarre names, like that of iReporter Holden Holden.

Holden, a sophomore at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, says that having a double name has its pros and cons. He says he has a face people will remember because his name is easy to remember. Unfortunately, he says, he’s not very good about remembering names himself, so it can lead to some awkward moments.

Holden’s grandfather died a month before he was born but was always called by his last name as a nickname. “My last name is my mother’s maiden name, which she reverted to after she divorced,” he explains.

Holden also says that he plans to run for president in 2036. “Since my name is pretty easy to remember, it’ll be easier to garner votes that way.”

As for Dow Jones’ mother, she didn’t go through with changing his name. Now she sees it as something unique for someone with the very common last name “Jones.” And perhaps that’s the bright side to having an unusual name: It sets you apart from the crowd.

Dow’s sister doesn’t seem to mind.

“There is a new Indiana Jones movie out this year, so all my friends think it’s pretty cool,” she says.

By Henry “Hank” Hanks
CNN