A Disney Survival Story

Interesting enough, when I first told some friends (with twins) that I was taking my girls to Disney before their third birthday, I was told more than a few times that I was insane.  Not crazy.  Certifiably insane.

“TWO TWO year olds at Disney World?  No.  It’s a bad idea.”
“You realize you will carry them 99% of the time and they WON’T remember a damn thing about the trip, right?”

“Just because they get in free this year does not make it worth it.”

“You will need WAY more help than your husband, mom and MIL.  It’s not going to work.”

HA.  HA I tell you.

We survived.

We not only survived but EVERY single one of us had a blast.  Even my husband who complained about the trip beforehand because he would lose 4 potential hunting days.

My kids loved it.  They are talking about it every day.  When they are 8, I don’t think they will truly remember any details but they will know we went.  They will have the pictures.  And, more importantly, I will have the memories.

There is nothing sweeter than seeing your daughter the first time she lays eyes on her favorite princess.  Or the first time she gets to hold Mickey’s hands.  There’s nothing like hearing your two year old say in a super timid voice “Mommy, I want Ariel to sing for us.”

And there is NOTHING like seeing your daughters kiss Donald Duck and then, 20 minutes later, while meeting Daisy Duck, tell her “We kissed Donald!”

That’s not to say there aren’t some things I wouldn’t have done differently.  Here’s my different list:

1) Although I did like our hotel well enough, I doubt I will stay there again.  Art of Animation is ok.  The suites are suitable for a family with a mom and dad and a few kids.  But adding my mom and MIL to the mix made the suite seem SUPER small.  Even though Disney claims 6 adults can stay in these suites, I would not have more than 2 adults and, at max, 4 kids.  It’s a value hotel, which is fine, you get a room and such for a cheaper price than some of the other hotels but it’s not a really nice hotel.  You walk into what looks a lot like a college dorm when you get to the building where your room is.  Sure, there’s paintings on the walls but it’s not anything to write home about.  The lobby was nice.  The food was pretty good.  But next time I think we will stay at the Animal Kingdom Lodge suites or the suites in the Bay Tower at the Contemporary.

2) Fast Passes.  Although it worked out just fine, I think I could have scheduled them better.  You generally needed more time to get from attraction to attraction.  Especially in Hollywood Studios.  We had a 10 am fast pass and an 11 am fast pass.  What I neglected to consider was the timing of the actual show for which we had the fast pass.  The 10 am fast pass show ended at 5 or 10 til 11 which meant we had only 5 minutes to get from one end of the park to the next (For reference, our shows were the 10 am Frozen Sing Along and the 11 am Disney Junior show).  We made it.  But it was stressful.

3) Time in the parks.  Everyone…and I mean EVERYONE told me that Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios were really half day parks.  No need to spend a full day.  Which is probably true for certain age groups.  However, I have 2 year olds.  2 year olds LOVE Dino Land.  They want to meet Donald and Daisy and Pluto and Goofy.  And they would also love safari animals.  Basically, we ended up spending only 3 hours at AK and and HS when we could have done a full day at each because of their ages.  At AK, we only were able to go to Dino Land and do the character meets.  Then we had to leave because we had something planned at MK at 2 (The girls’ lunch at Cinderella’s Royal Table).  At HS we were only able to do the two shows and meet Sofia.  There was so much more I think we all would have liked to have done.

4) Meals.  You have to schedule character meals 6 months in advance.  And sometimes, even at 6 months out, you can’t get your preferred times.  We had to go to Cinderella’s at 2:20 on Sunday.  I would have preferred a more normal lunch time like noon so it wasn’t during our normal nap time.  But it is what it is.  We had a reservation at Be Our Guest on Tuesday at 1.  That wasn’t horrible but we did have to leave HS early to get there.  Next time I think I will plan park days around meal plans.  It’ll be a lot easier.

 

As for things you shouldn’t miss….if you have kids the ages of mine make sure you do these things:

1) Chef Mickey’s.  If you can only do one character meal, do this one.

2) The carousel.  I know I know.  It’s not a ride that you would think would be that amazing but my kids love horses and going in circles.  We rode it no less than 5 times.  I think it was probably closer to 7.

3) Enchanted Tales with Belle.  You just have to go to it to understand why it’s so great.  But go.

4) The Memory maker.  It’s expensive.  $150 for unlimited downloads of every picture the photo pass photographers take of your group.  But it is WORTH it.  Photo pass photogs took over 300 pictures of my group.  If you download them individually they would be $10 each.  There were definitely more than 15 that I wanted.  Plus it saved me from having to pull out my camera constantly.

5) A fast pass for your kid’s favorite princess(es).  For us it was Anna and Elsa.  And I would have paid money for that fast pass so I could see the looks on my kids faces.  I don’t know that I would have waited in a 2+hour line though.

6) The Finding Nemo ride at Epcot.  Epcot is not a “kid” park – at least not a preschooler park.  But that ride and the aquarium that you can visit near it is perfect for kids.  My girls LOVED it.

Dinner with Twins

Being a working mom and trying to juggle life is hard.  No, this isn’t a “Working moms have it harder post.”  This is a Life is Hard Post and here is why MY life is hard.

Here’s my day:

3:30 am: wake up as Twin B crawls into my bed.

4:45 am: Wake up when the husband’s alarm goes off so he can go to the gym (sometimes I’m awakened more than 10 times in a row as he hits snooze until 6:30 am).

5:30 am: Wake up when Twin A comes downstairs and wakes me up to say “I’m going to sleep in the floor until morning.”

6:30 am: Wake up for the day.  Take a 3 minute shower while the girls yell for me because the second I got out of bed, they both bounced up ready for the day.

6:40 am: Make breakfast – eggs or pancakes most mornings.  Cereal bars on my lazy mornings.

6:50 am: Run back and forth between straightening my hair and stopping the fights between the girls over who gets to sit on which end of the couch or carry a specific babydoll around.

7:00 am: Put on my makeup with two little girls watching while they also put on their makeup (translucent powder on a makeup brush – Sometimes we do things we think we won’t, like let our toddlers wear makeup, just to get through the morning).

7:10 am: Do the hotdog dance while making lunches.

7:15 am: Search for clothes for the girls to wear to school.

7:20 am: search for more clothes because they don’t like what I picked.

7:30 am: Get girls dressed while chasing them through the house, refilling cups, and rocking the babydoll.

7:40 am: Get myself dressed for the day (I NEVER do this before dressing the girls or I end up having to change because of various….things ending up on me).

7:50 am: Load kids, lunch boxes, and all their goodies that are going to school with them into the car.

8:00 am: daycare drop off.

8:10 am until 5:oo pm: work.

5:10 pm: Pick up kids.

5:20 pm: start dinner (this is the important part).

5:45ish pm: Eat dinner.

6:15 pm: Play with the kids.  Bathe the kids.  Do whatever until bedtime.

7:45 pm: Kids go to bed.

After that I work some more or work out and clean the kitchen, fold laundry, do whatever task needs done.

 

So dinner.  Dinner is always a struggle so I’ve started implementing meal planning.  Sunday and Monday I plan something.  Wednesday and Thursday I plan something.  Fridays and Saturdays we play it by ear (sometimes we aren’t home so it’s easier – the freezer stays stocked full of random meals I can make in a pinch).

Tuesdays is Twin night.  I let the girls decide what’s for dinner.  Most nights they request Pizza or Hamburgers.  I throw in a healthy side and off we go.  Last night, however, was cheese night.

“What’s for dinner?” I asked them.

“Mac and Cheese!” Charlee yelled (they do love their mac and cheese).

“Grill cheese!” Gabi yelled (it’s not just mac and cheese they love…it’s cheese).

Ok, so I could make the executive decision to make soup with grilled cheese.  Or something else with mac and cheese but I’ve found that giving my girls control of this ONE thing, this ONE dinner each week, has made them so happy.  They love Twin Tuesdays.  And I want them to always feel confident in their decisions, even if that decision is to eat three times their body weight in cheese.  So we had grilled cheese and mac and cheese.

And they ate every bite.

When you have two kids that struggle at gaining weight, anytime they will eat an entire meal it’s a win.  Even if the meal doesn’t include green beans or chicken.

They get enough of that the other days of the week.

A Book A Week: 50, 51, 52…I’m Done.

So I finished 52 books this year already.  It’s just the second week of September but I’m done.  Of course I’ll still be reading some and maybe if the books are good I’ll write about them

Book 50: Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan.

Not much to say about this one.  It wasn’t great but it was free so there’s that.  I don’t even know why I finished it other than I have that need to finish reading things.  It’s about a girl, Jane, who randomly shows up in a town claiming to be Jane – who lived in that town over a hundred years prior.  Eh.  It was what it was.  I wouldn’t read it again and I doubt I will read anything by Sarah Kernochan again.  It just wasn’t enjoyable.

 

Book 51: Don’t Try To Find Me by Holly Brown.

Holly Brown is a therapist so she was able to write about things that would be very real and very heartbreaking to families – mothers especially. This book was basically my worst nightmare.  It’s the story of a girl, Marley, who leaves a cryptic message on the family white board – “Don’t try to find me.”  The story is told by the mother, Rachel and the daughter, Marley.  It’s not a suspense novel in the normal sense.  But it is suspenseful.  Why did this 14 year old run away?  Who did she run to?  How many secrets does this family HAVE exactly?

Marley’s dad starts a media campaign to find his daughter.  Facebook, Twitter, etc.  FindMarley.com.  What he doesn’t know is that Marley doesn’t really have great access to the internet.  She wasn’t kidnapped.  She was seduced.  Through Facebook by a guy who knew a guy she knows – or so he says.  He’s 20 (he says).  They’ll get her a new identity (he says).  Things will be better (he says).

But things aren’t what they seem.  We all know what it means to be catfished at this point.  As Marley finds out who her new boyfriend, B, really is, she can’t decide what to do.  She doesn’t believe she can go home but she knows she can’t stay where she is.  She moved all the way across the country for him and now she’s alone.  Writing in her journal.  As the secrets of Marley’s family come out, her mother is a suspect in the disappearance.  It’s a web of lies.

It’s a good read.  But if you’re a mom, it’s so damn scary.

 

Book 52: Haunted by Kay Hooperhaunted_cover.

I love Kay Hooper and her Bishop/SCU novels.  This is book 15 and although you CAN read them out of order, I don’t recommend it.  Go back to Book 1 (Stealing Shadows) and read them in order.  The entire series will make more sense.  This book will ESPECIALLY make more sense if you read them all – there are many story lines that come together in this one book.  Honestly, I want to reread the entire series.  That’s how much I love these books.

So this is the story of Trinity, a small town sheriff, who lives in a town that is completely safe.  Until the first murder.  Then the second.  Someone is killing her friends one by one.  She calls Bishop for help – she already knew him and his unit of psychics.  I know, I know.  Psychics.  I don’t know how much I believe in psychics but I like reading books about them.

This book has my two favorite Bishop psychics – Reese and Hollis.

There are some parts that were weird – some things that are said and then simply not followed up on (or that are completely misleading for the book).  Regardless Kay Hooper is a great story teller.  Read her books so she will write more.  ;)

A Book a Week: Books 46 through 49

Ok, I have four books to talk about.  Three are part of a series and a standalone.

The Standalone was called Dead Again by Tracy Cooper-Posey.  It was ok.  not worth talking about.  It was predictable and somewhat silly.  Not on a must read list.

The other three.  Wow.  These are must reads – or better yet, use audible and listen to them.  Because I think listening to these is totally worth it and you’ll be like me, walking around carrying your phone so you can just listen for a few more minutes.  The best news?  These books are being made into a tv series by Fox.  Fox says it’s a ten episode “event.”

I was looking, quite frankly, for a cheap audio book because I had used my credits and would be on the road a lot.  so I settled on Blake Crouch‘s novel Pines.

pines

This is the story of Ethan Burke.  A Secret Service agent sent to Wayward Pines, Idaho to find his missing ex-partner and ex-lover, Kate.  He wakes up confused.  He’s somewhere weird, not sure where he is, all he knows is he doesn’t remember things.  As the story progresses he discovers he is in the town where he was looking for Kate.  But not only can he not find her, or anyone who knows anything about her or her partner who are missing, he also can’t leave.

There are two books after this one.  Wayward and The Last Town.

I wanted the Last Town to continue.  It ended and I was sad, which let’s face it, THAT is the sign of a good story.  The sequels were as good as the original in this, which is hard to do.  Read them all (or listen to them all).  In order.  Don’t miss a word.

And then let’s all watch the tv series.

 

 

Isagenix is not for me

Ok, maybe that’s a strong statement.  It MAY not be for me.

You see, I hear all the success stories – including my own sister – people who have lost 10-20-40 pounds doing the 30 day Isagenix system.  I wanted to lose 10 to 15 pounds so I thought I would try it.  With two two year olds it’s hard to find time to go to the gym and at night I just haven’t felt up to exercising in awhile.  It’s not that I’m heavy.  I just want to get back down to 120, maybe 125 (which is what I weighed two weeks after the twins were born).

Ok, a year.  It’s been a YEAR since I’ve really exercised.

The truth is, there is no “easy” way to lose weight.  Scratch that.  There is no easy way to lose weight and NOT GAIN IT BACK.  It takes hard work, dedication and a lifestyle change.  It does not take two shakes a day.

Here’s how it works.  You buy Isagenix (which, btw, is a MLM strategy to begin with).  They have a 30 day system which includes:

2 shakes a day (for breakfast and lunch or breakfast and dinner)

Natural accelerator pills (twice a day)

IsaFlush (1-2 pills at bedtime)

Ionix Supreme (In the morning)

and then a cleanse which you should do one or two days a week.  On cleanse days, ALL you do is drink the cleanse (and some Ionix supreme…and you are allowed the Isagenix “snacks” in moderation).

The theory is if you do exactly as they say, and do not change your daily routine beyond that, you will lose weight.  Which sounded good to me because of my severe inability to find time to exercise (I know, I know, it sounds like an excuse but I work a full time job, usually more than 60 hours a week, I’m raising twins, I have a house to take care of, a husband, dogs, life….I have life).

Ok, so on normal days, you have your Ionix Supreme, your morning shake and accelerator pill, your afternoon shake, an afternoon accelerator pill, a healthy dinner (between 400 and 600 calories) and your IsaFlush.  And you drink a ton of water.

Quite honestly, it’s easy.  I haven’t had trouble sticking with this system on the regular days.

Day 1: I lost 1.5 pounds.  Sweet.

Day 2: I was down another .3 pounds.  Eh, not bad.

Day 3: I was down another .2 pounds.  I had lost 2 pounds total.  Not bad for three days.  I did discover on day 3 that I felt dehydrated.  My lips were dry I was so dehydrated.  Which made no sense because I was drinking around 100 ounces of water a day in addition to the shakes.

Day 4: I decided I wouldn’t weigh myself again until Day 11.  Which is a weigh and measure day.

Day 5: I tried the cleanse.  That day was fine until around 5:30 PM when I got violently ill.  I was dizzy, nauseated, I could barely stand.  So I made myself a salad.  Just a salad.  And I took a couple bites of my daughter’s dinner.  Nothing more.  I had no more than 100 extra calories in what I ate.

Day 6-10: I kept going on the regular shake days.  On day 7 I cheated a little.  My niece had her birthday party so I had some chips and dip.  On Day 10 I did weigh myself.

Day 11 is today.

When I weighed in I discovered that I had GAINED half a pound from where I started.

Yes, you read that right.  I went UP in weight after losing 2 pounds.  So after day 3, I gained 2.5 pounds.

You cannot tell me that a handful of chips with sour cream dip on them caused me to gain 2.5 pounds.

I did measure myself and according to the tape measure I have lost some inches.  But I don’t know if I am measuring in the exact same spot as I measured on day 1 – basically, if you go down a little on your leg or waist or whatever, you might get a different measurement just because you aren’t exactly where you were the first time.  According to the tape measure I have lost an inch off my waist, 1.5 inches off my hips/butt and .5 inches off each thigh.  My pants disagree though.  They feel the same as they did 11 days ago.

So here I am with 19 days of product left.  I think I’m going to keep trying it just to see what happens but I also decided to add T25 back into my life.  This is the THIRD time I’ve started the program (I’ve never finished it though).  this time it’s hard.  SO hard to do.  Last time I started T25 after doing Insanity and it was easy.  This time I think I will do T25 and then maybe try Insanity again.

Also, another weird thing about Isagenix.  I have a Diet Mountain Dew habit – one a day.  I quit last year for about 5 months and in the first 3 days after I quit, I lost 6 pounds.  I quit on day one of Isagenix and, well, you know what’s happened.

I’ll update again after Day 30.  We’ll see how it goes with the added exercise.

A Book A Week: Books 43 through 45

I’ve been out of town a lot.  So I’ve been able to read some.  I finished three books recently.

First I listened to The Competition by Marcia Clark.

competition-225

Yes, this is written by THE Marcia Clark.  I’ve got to say that I wasn’t a huge fan of her when she prosecuted the OJ trial.  Honestly, I thought she (and her team) could have done a better job.  Regardless, I chose the book on Audible for my drives while working.

This is the story of a school shooting.  And it’s REALLY good.  There are things I didn’t like – I didn’t like that we never found out if Kristy lived or died (I assume she died based on how she was shot, but her friends kept asking and no one ever found out).  I did not like how she, Rachel, felt about her boss.  She called him names, made fun of him, complained constantly about having to talk to him.  It was all so juvenile.  Maybe if I read some of the earlier Rachel Knight novels I would understand the disdain for the boss but it was simply annoying.

BUT overall the story was great.  There were twists and turns and a story line that kept you guessing.  Actually, at one point (SPOILER ALERT) I knew who the mastermind had to be.  Just wait for someone to run away and you’ll get it.

Next I read what was quite possibly the worst book I’ve ever read in my life.  NO I am not being dramatic.  The book is Silence by Natasha Preston.

S

Luckily I got it for free.  The story line was good.  I mean, it wasn’t horrible.  It got my attention so I kept reading.  But the writing was so amateurish.  I honestly felt like I was reading something that I would have written – when I was 12.  I can’t even explain how bad the writing was.  The grammar was off, the conversations sounded more like conversations between my two year olds than teenagers.  Well, what conversations there were – the main character didn’t speak until the end.  And there were so many story lines that were not properly wrapped up.

Maybe it is an accurate representation of how teenagers act and speak.  But, quite frankly, I don’t buy it.  I may expect too much of people though.

HOWEVER, I did get sucked in to a series.  AGAIN.  The good news is Broken Silence, which I also received for free, was a little better written.

SmallBS

 

This is the aftermath of Silence.  Cole and Oakley are reunited.  The reunion was odd.  It’s 4 years later and Oakley’s dad is JUST NOW going to trial.  She left 4 years before and this is the first time they’ve seen each other.  There’s a small fight.  But then everything is fine.  (eye roll).  Another girl is in love with Cole but she wishes him the best when Oakley returns.  Again, not likely, but whatever.

I don’t want to say “Don’t read these books” because you might like them.  I’m just not sold on them.

The Wedding

My BFF got married on Friday.  I was, of course, the matron of honor.  Which meant I had to give a speech.

In my normal fashion, I forgot my notes.  I did remember a lot of the speech but I forgot some.  SO I pulled out my notes this morning so I could put here what I meant to say there.  Actually, I’m quite proud of how much I DID remember.  Here’s the toast I meant to give:

I think I speak for everyone when I say FINALLY.  Quite frankly, a year ago when Angie told me she was going to marry Ben, I thought “Sure you are.”  You see, about three years ago she told me she simply wasn’t the marrying kind.  Marriage wasn’t for her.  It just wouldn’t work.  I’m really happy right now that she proved herself, and me, wrong.  Because if anyone can make Angie the marrying kind, it’s Ben.

We’ve been friends for almost two decades.  That’s a long time to maintain a friendship.  And it’s hard.  There are ups and downs, like in every relationship.  There are the good times, like when we accidentally set things on fire.  And there are the bad times, like when we acted like the high schoolers we were and fought over, what else?  Boys.  But throughout it all, she and I have been able to make our friendship work.

And friendships are a lot like a marriage, just without the paperwork.  A lot of people are going to give you all marital advice today, and probably for the next 50 years.  It’s all great advice, really.  But marriages are not one size fit all.  Every wedding I’ve been to has included “Don’t go to bed angry” in the toast.  But you know what?  If you need to, go to bed angry.  Give yourself that time.  If you need to leave the house for a few hours or a day, you do it.  Ben, Angie will be in my guest room if that happens.  I’ll let you in to talk to her, even if she tells me not to.  The only people in this room who know and understand your relationship are the two of you.  Enjoy that.  It’s your own little secret.

Angie has grown a lot in the past few years.  And I think I speak for her mother, and my mother, and Whit’s mother and all the other mothers who gave us advice on how to live growing up when I say you have done it.  You’ve become the woman that they all hoped you would be.  And I am so proud of you.

There’s family we are born into and there’s family we choose.  And I think that this time, you did good.  Your new family, your chosen family, is perfect.

 

There it is.  The speech I meant to give.  Maybe next time I won’t forget my notes (not next time for Angie, just next time….I also forgot my notes when I was Whitney’s maid of honor).