Monday, February 27, 2012

Disney to Do or not to Do...What I Learned

Things that I learned from Disney and Universal:

1)  Don't go.

Seriously, I really don't think that people realize that it isn't magical until you are an adult.  I recommend waiting until your kids are at LEAST 10-20 years old.  That way they can ride the rides and won't be miserable walking.all.day.

2)  If Chuck E. Cheese freaks your kid out, it won't be any more magical if they are meeting Mickey, Pooh, or Cinderella.

I don't care how much your kid loves Stitch.  I don't care if they have the whole dang movie memorized.  If giant fuzzy costumes are scary to them, they won't see any more than the giant walking nightmare...and 7 days won't change that either.  Charlotte screamed the.whole.week.  Flippy Dippy.

3)  Do take your kids to Six Flags or Kings Island or your local amusement park before you buy a week's worth of passes to Disney or Universal. 

Because they are AMUSEMENT PARKS.  They are full of rides, people, walking, noise, standing, public restrooms, and auto-flushing toilets.

4)  Auto-flushing toilets are scarier than the giant fuzzy characters. 

If your child is scared of auto-flushing toilets, buy a small packet of sticky notes to put over the sensors.  If your kid is not scared of auto-flushing toilets, bring a packet of sticky notes to put over the sensors.  Your kid is short and apparently moves more while on the potty then you are supposed to, and the auto-flush will flush while your child is sitting on the toilet.  If I had one kid leap off the toilet mid-pee once, it happened 20 times.  I was lucky that I didn't have to change anyone's clothes due to this...but it wasn't from lack of attempts.

5)  Do a dry run on sunscreen. 

Slather your kids up about a week before and make sure they aren't allergic.  Because if they are they will be itchy and hacked off about walking at an amusement park.  Bring Benedryll and band-aids.  Because it's easier to carry it, than find it if you need it.

6)  If you cannot re-plan having kids closer together, or take them in shifts, plan your day in shifts.

Go on x-number of rides with the Big Kid and then x-number of rides with Little Kid...this way the misery gets spread out a little.  And don't lie to yourself, there will be misery.

7)  The Fast Pass is worth the money. 

It assures you that you will stand in line long enough that your feet hurt, but not long enough that you feel like committing hari-kari.  I don't care how financially tight you are, it's worth the money.

8)  Bring several pairs of shoes.  And a light wind-breaker/rain jacket.

If you are wrong and the shoes do rub...which they will if you are wearing them for 6-12 hours...then you at least can have rotating rub spots.  And they can dry out in shifts for the next day if the weather man is wrong.  And you will be glad to not have to buy a $8 rain poncho that doesn't really fit.

9)  If you do go on a holiday weekend, do not lie to yourself. 

It will be busy.  There will be long lines.  Just don't be all shocked.  I wanted to slap the person complaining, 50 whiney idiots in...do you seriously think you are the only person who took advantage of the days out of school to go??  Really???

10)  Do pay attention to the bus pick-up times. 

And do be exponential in what your kids will feel like in 2 more hours...just because they are having fun now and only a little tired doesn't mean that they won't bow up and decided that fun is all done in 30 minutes.

11)  If your child has special needs ask what accommodations can be made on a special needs discussion board before going to Disney, because they won't volunteer ANYTHING.

Seriously, Disney was very tight-lipped about helping us.   They volunteered nothing.  It wasn't until I got on a sensory discussion board that I got any information at all....we had to ask for every specific intervention.

12)  Universal was amazing. 

They intervened and gave Elise special treatment at every turn.  We had to ask for virtually nothing.  I cannot compliment them enough.  It made a truly hellish vacation magical.  And that's not even their MO.

13)  If your kid has sensory issues, physical disabilites, and can't take it anymore, you will not get an award for not getting a wheelchair. 

That $12 rental fee will be worth every single penny.  And purchasing one for yourself for long-term may not be a bad investment, because there won't be snagging plactic that will tear up the back of your kid's legs...and the foot rests will actually fit and not be too long.

14)  Just because your child is in a wheelchair, doesn't mean people will be any less rude.

Seriously.  I have never been so aware of rudeness.  I got cut off so many times I lost count.  I started out terrified that I would drive Elise into someone's ankles...I finished off the week figuring that if I destroyed their Achilles' tendon, it would pretty much serve them right.

15)  Go to Disney's shows. 

They are amazing.  They allow you to sit and rest in A/C.  And they are incredibly well done.

16)  Universal's food is really good.

Way yummier than Disney's.  Although Disney can dish out some pretty great ice cream bars...I would pack food to Disney and get treats.  At Universal, they actually have some really good food plans that you can get there, day of, even.  And make sure that you buy some fudge at Honeydukes!  It was crazy cheap and DELICIOUS!!

Rat 2-27-12 and Ruminations

So I dreamed last night that my brother and his wife had their baby.  It was a 9 pound baby boy, named Ed.  I'm hoping that I'm wrong, and that she is not subjected to having a 9 pound baby as she is planning on doing it naturally, at home...but I do hope that she has a boy.  I know that neither my brother nor his wife are comfortable having a boy...but I didn't want girls, either.  And I have never been so thankful that my plans were totally tweaked.  It is a completely amazing to be stretched and be given a new perspective.  So, Ed, Edmund, or Kipling...or whatever, I am still hoping for a boy...for them and me...  :)

We went on vacation to Disney and Universal Studios.  And despite walking parks for 6-12 hour stretches, I still managed to run 5 miles on the treadmill Sunday and 4.5 on the elliptical Tuesday...  I had found myself regretting selling my treadmill until halfway through my first run...and suddenly, all my regrets were gone.  I felt trapped like a hamster on a wheel...hot, angry, and miserable.  And last night I ran 7 miles in my neighborhood and I felt amazing.  I felt free and whole.  And so I do believe I am a runner...officially.  I run for the pleasure of the run...not just for the exercise...

My next post is on the vacation itself...and all the things that I learned...the good, the bad, the ugly...

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Rat 2-12-2012

Update on my 2nd 5K.  It's official! I ran yesterday's Valentine 5K in 32:45. I shaved 1.71 minutes off my December 5K!! And I DID NOT WALK. NOT A STEP!! 2012 Goal #1. Check. This year is lookin' GOOD!!! :)

And so Goal #2: CHECK!!  :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rat 2-8-2012

Yesterday I weighed myself for the first time in almost 2 weeks.  Lo and Behold I saw a number I've not seen in more than 10 years.  I weighed in at my summer weight pre-Elise.  I would always lose about 5 pounds over each summer when I was teaching.  I completely attribute that to the fact that I was eating my weight in melons and tomatoes and squash and cucumbers and.....well, you get it...  Yum!!  Summer produce has a comfort food factor that cannot be touched by any other food...  Interestingly, that reinforces my current belief that "whole" and natural food is significantly better for you.  This also marked 29 pounds lost since January 2011.  Wow.  Over the last 9 years, I had completely despaired of ever seeing that number again.  No lie.

I have my second 5K scheduled for this Saturday morning.  And, per this year's goal, I shall not walk.  Not one step.  I have promised myself!!  I have pushed myself pretty hard recently, and I am trying to hold back so I am pretty fresh for Saturday.  I would like to put up a faster time, but I am not familiar with the race course...so I cannot commit...but a PR would certainly be welcome...I'll be pushing for it.

I have been struggling with enough energy to successfully maintain my running pace.  The funny thing is, that I discovered that I would not have enough staying power if I ate protein for breakfast, and that in general, I was craving complex carbs.  Not in keeping with my Chalean Extreme diet plan...but I simply was running (no pun intended) out of steam.  And so I slowly started adding a little bit more carbs to may day.  Recently, I read this great book on women's running and in the nutrition chapter it specified that I should have 50% carbs, 25% protein, and 25% fat for optimal energy...and yesterday, I stumbled on a tool on my nutrition/exercise app that would put in a pie graph for me...and guess what?  Almost smack on for my own discovery of my optimal nutrition.  Crazy cool, huh?  Sometimes, your body really does know better...

I am really enjoying a running devotional that I found on accident and cannot recommend highly enough, along with a blog...and a book:
Running with God
Running with Horses (which, ironically, I thought was by the same author as the book...it's not, it's just based on the same verse!  But both are excellent!!)
Run with the Horses

And I have Runner's World headed my way...

You think I'm addicted?  :)

Perhaps...but I feel better than I have in a long time...so I'm thinking it's okay for now!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Charlotte's Musical Moment: Classical Gas


I know that I may over do my joy in Charlotte's musical taste, but for someone so little, she has such sophisticated taste in music!  Recently, I've been noticing that she also has perfect pitch.  A first in my household of Littles, although Elise certainly has a good ear.

Today's musical moment came because I went on a bit on an iTunes bender and bought myself 3 new songs for running.  All were ones from my own childhood, which makes Charlotte's reaction even more precious to me.

Classical Gas came on and Charlotte literally sat up straight in her carseat and yelps, "Is this MY song???"  I said, "Sure, Baby!  If you like it, it can be yours."

And she sat back and hummed corresponding notes that harmonized nicely with the piece.  Grinning very broadly.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Valentines to the Man-Child

Because I wander around in my Bible and verse search app during the sermon, sometimes...shhhhh....I was broad-sided with a cool idea today...and as I am not the only one with a child in this age bracket, so I thought I'd share...

My project of Valentine's Day for the Man-Child this whole month:

Proverbs is such an intimate book. A concrete, every day use book...a love letter to a child on the brink of adulthood...and so I'm addressing it to my boy.

This month, I am hand-writing Proverbs, chapter by chapter, to him. I have decided on The Message, because it it is so conversational, like a true letter...

I've also decided to stick it to his mirror, in an envelope...If I trusted the post service, and had thought of this earlier, I might have sent it in the mail...but, you know...got to work with where you start sometimes...maybe next year.  :)

Let me know if you decide to Biblically call out on the streets to your man-child or woman-child....