Friday, October 12, 2012

Neglected Little Blog my little blog has become neglected...

It should not feel lonely.  I have neglected a lot of stuff lately.

Starting over.  Starting fresh.

Getting things in order.  Putting things in perspective.  Letting some things go.

Working hard.  Work is going well.  99.9% of the days I feel like the luckiest lady in the world.  {I won't lie...that .01% when my little friend is acting like a "Stinker Bell" makes me want to throw in the towel!!!  Luckily, those days are few and far between}  I feel like I am doing something that matters.  If I make that little girl laugh, help her learn something, or help her make a connection with a friend, it is SO worth it.  This is the happiest I have been at a job {I don't even feel like it is a job} in a long, long time.

I am also working very, very hard at making my Direct Sales business successful.  I am going to go ahead and say it {not sure if it is against the rules or not!!!} ...I am selling for a new company called Origami Owl.  They specialize in "Living Lockets" first and foremost. They are also branching out into new jewelry pieces. 

I think this is going to be huge.  Huge.  I am SO excited.  I have a small {called a "Garage Sale"} show at one of the Junior High Schools next weekend, and a HUGE Craft Fair at one of the High Schools on 10/27.  I hope I can keep up!!!

I have also signed on to be a Thirty-One consultant a little over a month ago.  I haven't done much with this business.  Yet.  It will take off, but I am really concentrating on Origami Owl right now. 

I have passed my tests to be a Disney Vacation Planner (if that is the right title...not 100% sure) with Destinations to Explore Travel.  I still have a way to go {Universal and Orlando Attractions} but feel pretty good about this.  I am already helping my sister and her boyfriend plan a Disney Cruise Line trip to Alaska in 2013!!!  Whoo-hoo!!!

Oh, and I also grabbed a new blog domain.  Because I blog so much.  Really.  I have great ideas for both blogs.  I just need to WORK on them.

I won't paint a completely rosy picture for everything, though.

The house is a wreck.  I have been neglecting some of my daily chores trying to keep up with everything.  I think Big Daddy has had it.

I managed to feed 125 employees at the school dinner two nights last week...but I have been feeding Little Man fast food or pizza since then.

I have gone back on a low dose anti-anxiety pill.  Not 100% sure that it is working.  My spending is getting bad.  Worrying too much.  Not enough sleep.  Too much zoning out and not concentrating.  I probably need to see a psychiatrist again soon.

I have learned just how much I could handle.  The last month has been rough...but we managed to make it.  I just wanted to get September over and done with.  It came and went, and I am ready to move on.

In the meantime, I am going to take things one day at a time.  It is all I can do.  I will concentrate on the good, and not dwell on the bad.  It CAN be done.

Love to All.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Those Precious Preschool Years

I have discovered why I do so well working with preschoolers.

Yes, I am a kid at heart...but recently, I got the the real "root" as to why I love working with 3-4-5 year olds.

I won't have the opportunity to raise my own preschooler ever again.

And this makes me sad.

In fact, I am tearing up as I type this out.

It has been in my head for awhile, but with the change of the school year, and watching those sweet, precious, new preschoolers come to school for the first time yesterday hit it home.

I have come to grips with the fact that I won't be a new Mommy again.  I am okay with that.  {my OB/GYN seems to hold onto hope, but I think he is crazy}

I don't regret how Little Man spent his preschool years.  I think we ALL learned a lot those three years.  Little Man was officially diagnosed with Asperger's during that time.  We worked hard on therapies for him, and educating ourselves.  I began talking to a therapist.  I worked on a lot personally.  I was diagnosed as bi-polar.

I still stand that I have done a lot on my own.  Not that Big Daddy isn't supportive.  Not that Big Daddy can even HELP it.  He works nights, I work days.  He would take Little Man to therapies and appointments {and still does} and I get got the temper tantrums, frustration and OCD rituals.

Little Man has come far. 

Time flies.  I wish I had cherished his preschool years a little more than I did.

Kids at this age are sweet, caring, curious, smart.  So very, very smart.  They are eager, friendly, creative, trusting, and above all...preschoolers are honest.  The list can go on and on and on.

I just love the excitement these kids have for life.  I love that they give everything their all.  I love that they have enthusiasm for everything.  That being said, by the time they are close to going on to kindergarten some of that *original* excitement and enthusiasm has worn off, but they still have some. 

There is nothing better than a genuine hug and smile from a preschool-aged kid.

Yes, I love the happiness that this age is.  The two years I spent working in preschool were truly amazing.  I hope to go back someday.  My job now, with a special needs kindergartener is incredible, and won't trade the experience for the world. 

I think I get a little sad knowing that I don't have a preschooler of my own, and I won't likely have one again.

I love my Little Man with all of my heart.

I just hope I did all right for him during HIS special years.

Love to All.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

News and Notes, From the Wonderful World of Disney

This evening, I had a few minutes to peruse the Disney Parks InsidEARS page and the Disney Parks Blog.

Lately, this has been a pretty rare activity.

My "New Years" Resolution has changed this.

I read a little a lot about some new happenings going on at the Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland and Disney in general.

Not super-news-worthy to my Disney Nerd friends, since it has been plastered all over Facebook and Twitter over the past few days, but I thought I would share via yet another source in the event that you may have missed it.

Everyone is going crazy about the newest Annie Leibovitz "Disney Dream" portraits. 

Source: Disney Parks Blog

Source: Disney Parks Blog

These images are part of a series of photos that will be featured in fall issues of magazines such as GQ, People, People en Espanol, O, the Oprah Magazine, Vanity Fair, Real Simple, Essence and InStyle.  You can also see past images from the "Disney Dream" portrait series, and a behind the scenes look at the Hitchhiking Ghosts photo shoot at the Disney Parks Blog.  What do you think???  Do these images make you want to book your next trip to Walt Disney World???

One post at the Disney Parks Blog that really caught my attention was one about the tenth anniversary of the opening of the "Once Upon A Toy" store at Downtown Disney Marketplace.  I was working for Walt Disney World, at the time.  I had many friends who helped open the store.  The post is written by a former Walt Disney World Ambassador {oh, that was always my dream "job"} and has some neat perspective of how the store has changed, what has come and gone, and some neat photos!!!  It also touches on how "The Disney Bear" (I have one, he was a FLOP) eventually became the uber-popular "Duffy, The Disney Bear". 

Recent blog entries give an update on Splitsville, an upscale bowling alley (???).  The pictures on the blog are artist renderings, but it looks neat.  It is slated to open this fall {I haven't heard a concrete date as of yet} in the space at Downtown Disney West Side once occupied by Virgin Megastore!!!  I will be interested to see how they transformed that space!!!  It should be open in plenty of time for our December trip...perhaps I can talk Little Man and Big Daddy into some bowling {won't be too hard to convince either of them!!!}

A very popular post (based on what I have seen on FB and twitter) is the one featuring a photo of the bronze statue of Gaston that is going into Belle's Village as part of the Fantasyland Expansion (#newFantasyland) in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.

Source: Disney Parks Blog

Source: Disney Parks Blog

I wish I could say that I was more excited about this. 

Yes, the whole Princessland Fantasyland Expansion should be complete by the time we are there in mid-December.

Please bear in mind that I am the mommy to an eight-year-old boy.  You can put a statue of Gaston up in the middle of Belle's Village, but it will still be Belle's Village. 

She is a princess.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. {or something like that}

What I am trying to say, is you can "boy" it up all you want, but it is still going to be heavy on the princesses.


Storybook Circus is not much of a draw to us, either.

We'll check it out, but are not expecting much.

What we ARE excited for is Cars Land out in California at Disney's California Adventure. (#justgothappier)

We have no real plans to get out to California anytime soon.

But we are still excited.

That is about all I have to share for now.

Yes, I know it has been kind of a cop-out...just re-hashing what I have read about on another blog.

Maybe not, it still has taken an hour (!!!) for me to sit and type this.  I have given you my insightful opinion take on some of the stuff that has been going on in the Wonderful World of Disney.

I still have some Disney Dooney posts to catch up on.

Did I mention that my Disney Dooney collection was {at last count} up to 27 unique pieces?!?!?

Obsessed much??? 

{side note: I have been recently put back on meds...maybe to help me with my serious obsessions and highs and lows...I am certain if I had stayed on my meds, I would not own so many pieces of Disney Dooney}

I can share pics soon.

But tonight, I am too tired.

But I blogged.  About something that I love.  And that friends, makes me happy.

Love to All

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Back to School Shopping

Nothing says "Happy Fourth of July" like doing a little back to school shopping.

Seriously.  We went shopping on July 7th.

If I was going to get Little Man the WWE backpack that he wanted, that is what we had to do.

I figured I was already in "school shopping" mode, so I may as well go with it.

This is what we were faced with...

Nothing too overwhelming.  I was a bit confused about the "NO TACKLEBOXES, PLEASE" disclaimer.  Really???  Tackleboxes???

This is what we ended up with...

Now, I know I could have bought everything pictured for like .01 with coupons and rebates.

I don't have time {or patience} for that.  I am committing to being better with coupons...but I have to draw the line somewhere.

I don't think I did too bad.  The most expensive item {except for the backpack/lunchbox) was the white {they HAD to be white (???)} erasers.  Everything else was super-cheap, and IN STOCK.

That is important to me.  I was able to take my time in Target and really look at the list and get what I needed...without cranky Mommies and loud kids in my way.

The backpack and lunchbox were even a pretty good deal.  We went to Toys R Us and bought the backpack for $14.99 and got the lunchbox for FREE.

I saw the backpack online at Toys R Us {after didn't have any BTS items yet} and called ahead.  It was a good thing I did, as I got their last one.  They had plenty of The Rock backpacks and lunchboxes, but this was the last WWE Superstars backpack.

Yeah, the cashier was a little peeved that I called ahead and had them hold the last one for me.  She said she had her eye on it, and wanted to wait for the free lunchbox promotion.  She said she was going to buy it before her shift and it was gone.  Yeah, it was mine.

The lunchbox is not my first choice, but it was free. It will hold his lunch and that is all that matters.

WWE online finally posted some BTS merchandise...later than usual, and a little more random than usual.  One backpack (The Rock) and one lunchbox.  I like their lunchbox better, but not enough to pay $11.99 for it.  The backpack is the same one that was offered at Toys R Us, but they are charging $19.99 {as opposed to $14.99} for it.

Mama has to save the pennies somewhere.

Besides, any money spent on WWE merchandise makes me {and Big Daddy} happy as we are WWE stockholders.

Seriously.  WWE.

I was able to relax knowing that I got our BTS shopping finished a whole month ahead of time.  Monday night is "Meet the Teacher" night, and I am going to be ready.  I just need to grab a box of Kleenex, a roll of paper towels, a box of Ziplocs and a box of Band-Aids from my "stash" and we will be good to go.

Of course, I have to sharpen 48 pencils.

THAT is my most dreaded Back-to-School chore!!!

We are ready to tackle second grade!!!  Here is hoping that it is better than first grade was!!!

Love to All.

New "Year", New Me...right?!?!?

 Today is August first.  The first day of my "new year" {even though school starts a week from now}.  How is the first day of my "resolution" gone???, today has not been quite so successful...

I am sick.

I am not sure if it is just mental or physical exhaustion, but my body ached.  Hurt. 

I slept.  I slept until noon.  Then I woke up, ate some lunch and slept some more.

I am feeling more human now, I think the rest helped.  I still have a {small} pain in my side.  It gets worse when I cough.  Or when I breathe.

Big Daddy is afraid I have pneumonia.  That would be my luck.

I don't have time for this. 

Just gonna push myself though and see what happens. 

One day at a time, right???

Love to All.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

New Years Resolutions...In July...

Oh my goodness.  It has been more than thirty days since I have sat and written anything.

Where has the time gone???

Lots of stuff has happened.  A lot of grown up stuff has happened.  A lot of stuff that I am not emotionally ready for.  I am okay, Little Man is okay, Big Daddy is okay.  Just life moving on.

Things are good, but they could be better.

I am taking on a few new endeavors.

You might say, I am going to spin a few more plates.

I have been asked to consider working for a travel agency, planning and booking trips to Walt Disney World.  This is something I can totally do.   I get to do it from my computer.  I am not committed 100% to this yet, but I am strongly considering it.

I am also becoming involved with Social Media Club - St. Charles.  It is still very much in it's infancy.  A lot of tweeting (which I am very good at) and staying active in all aspects of social media.  I am pretty good at that, too.  In fact, I waste a good deal of time on social media.  There is an event this week to introduce the club to the community.  I am not sure if I can attend, after all.  You know, because of my spinning plates.

I am also starting a very new, very exciting direct sales business.  I am still learning all of the ins-and-outs of it.  I just got my kit last week, and the box sits, unopened in my entry.  I know that mentioning the business in a blog, in tweets and on Facebook is kind of frowned upon, as not to put consultants at an unfair advantage.  I am not certain that I can't mention it, but I don't want to take any chances.  Just look at this picture carefully...what is it???  A paper bird of sorts.  How is the paper folded??? O_ig_m_  What type of bird is it???  An O_l.  Google those two words along with the word "jewelry" and you will get to the website that I am working with.  :)

There is just a lot going on, but nothing that I have really tackled.  This blog is something that I have neglected {along with my Disney InsidEARS page}.  That is why I am making some new "New Years Resolutions". 

But wait, it isn't January.

No, but it IS the beginning of a new school year, and this is where I make the change.

Little Man is starting second grade next week, and my Kindergarten Friend starts, well, kindergarten.  My hours at work are going to change.  I am going to have some "free" time to tackle things.

Things like...

~Doing the regular household chores that need to be done.  Each. And. Every. Day.

~Getting rid of junk in our house.

~Packing the house up to move next summer {don't ask us WHERE yet, but once again Big Daddy says we are moving}

~Working out on a regular basis.

~ Committing more time to the blog.  More posts, more pictures, more often.

~Working on my new Direct Sales Business (see photo above)

~Becoming an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

~Working more with Social Media Club - St. Charles.

~Spending a little time each day on my Disney InsidEARS page.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, but I need to start somewhere. 

I CAN do this, and I WILL do this. 

It is a "new year"...time for a new start.

Love to All.

Monday, June 18, 2012 many Disney Dooneys...

Disclaimer right off the bat...

I don't wear fancy clothes {Old Navy, Lane Bryant or Target...always with coupons}...

I don't wear fancy shoes {always Converse or flip-flops.  Always}

In the grand scheme of things, my purses aren't that fancy.  They aren't even {all that} expensive.  There are bags out there that are pricier.

Of course, I could buy a bag from Target for $25. 

But that bag wouldn't be a Disney Dooney, now would it???

I have posted about them before. 

I have bought a few since that post.

I finally got my beloved Aulani tote.

photo: Google images...
and they are crediting it to robot celeb dot com ?!?!?

No, this isn't a photo of my tote.  The girl I am buying the tote from sent me pics, and I saved them to my laptop.  My laptop.  The one that is being repaired now.  Not really repaired, but maintained (???). 

I digress.

I have the pics on a memory card {is that what they're called?!?!?} and it is across the room.  I am so sore, I can hardly move...and I am not getting up to get it.

Anyway, I am getting a bag just like this, it should come this week...and I am going to love it.  {I also won an Aulani wristlet on evilBay at about 2am this morning}  I am so in love with this purse, but like so many of my Disney Dooneys, I am going to drool over it when I take it out of the package, but then it is going to hide in my closet for awhile, so Big Daddy doesn't notice right away. 

He thinks that I "trade" my Dooneys with a group on Facebook.

Sure, I "trade" them money via PayPal. 
photo: Disney Parks Blog

I have also acquired a WDW Princess 1/2 Marathon Tote {with Marathon Dangle...available only at the marathon expo during marathon weekend}

This is funny because I have not ran a 1/2 Marathon.  I have not ran anything.  Ever.  Well, maybe ran up a credit card bill.
My bag is the one in the lower right corner.  The big one.

Of course it is.

I also got the Minnie Bow Tote.  I had to get a bag to match my wristlet, before Disney goes and discontinues this print or something.

photo: Disney Store

I also won {from evilBay} a First Edition Sketch Wristlet...with awesome Walt Disney World placement.  It was like a dream.  The First Edition Sketch pattern had separate Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Dooney & Bourke banners.  The newer Sketch patterns have a combined WDW/DL banner and no D&B banner at all.  This having such a great WDW banner was meant to be mine. 

photo: eBay (this is the one I won!!!)

When this wristelt snaps shut the WDW banner will be prominent.  So will Mickey's shoes, but the banner is what I wanted most.  It makes it most special to me.  Hey, anything is better than two Dumbo butts {more on that later}.

I have many, many, many more Disney Dooneys on my wishlist.  Ones that I haven't even known that I wanted.  Some, have been pushed further back.  I have been saving my money {five dollar bills, to be exact} little by little...and have saved $125 in about six weeks, totally effortlessly {possible blog to follow???} ...not earth-shattering, BUT a good chunk of my Buttons tote...

photo: eBay (via Google images)

This currently retails $245.  Oh, I already have the wristlet in this pattern and I *love* it.  I also have a Disneyland Retro wristlet on my wishlist.  AND Disney just announced the release of the Walt Disney World Retro pattern. 

So mine.

So many Disney Dooneys, so little time (and so little money).

I sat down with every intention of writing about all of the new Disney Dooney items...that will come.  I just had to share some of my new finds!!!

Love to All.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

What, Disney Stress Me Out?!?!?

So, we are going on a magical, 9-day Walt Disney World vacation.  This will be Little Man's fifth "real" trip there.  I don't even know how many times Big Daddy and I have been...between travelling there, living there and working there.  We are "seasoned" pros.  We have done it before, and we will do it again.

This time, I'm stressing out.

You see, I am not a planner.  Big Daddy and I go to Walt Disney World in a "Cast Member" frame of mind.  We take things leisurely.  We don't stress out over FastPasses, we don't worry about getting the best seat for Fantasmic! (or the Main Street Electrical Parade or Illuminations: Reflections of get the picture).  We sleep in until we wake up...if a line is a little too long, we come back during a parade or show and hope it is shorter. 

We have a "if we don't see it this time, there is always next time" attitude.

This time is a little different.  I can't put my finger on it.  I think it stems from dining reservations.

Yes.  Dining reservations are stressing me out.

We are going when {it is rumored} that the "Free Dining" promotion will be ending.  No, Disney has not officially released the is said that some Guests have been mailed those magical PIN Codes for free dining during the dates of our stay.  I *think* I have also heard that the dates have been released for Disney Visa cardholders {I could be confused, all of the rumors and whatnot spread like wildfire on the Internet}.  Whatever.  That being said, Disney Dining fills up, and fills up fast...especially if the word "free" is involved.

I knew our 180-day window for making our dining reservations was approaching.  I consulted for park hours and special events during out 8-night stay.  I also had to take into considertaion that we have family and friends that we will want to see when we are there.  The whole point of booking this trip at the time we did {at Christmas} was for a Family Reunion with Big Daddy's family.  We have a 6-Day Park Hopper ticket to work with {I am secretly going to add a day to make it a 7-Day} so we can fit in friends and family on our "extra" days.  We are also going to attend Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.  That is only running on certain nights of our stay, so I wanted to make sure no dining reservations conflicted with that.

I have never, ever "mapped out" our trip.  Yes, I have made dining reservations.  Yes, we have attended seperate, hard-ticket events such as MVMCP and Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  Heck, I have even had to work around a Disney Fairy Tale Wedding and all that entailed.  We are "go with the flow" kind of people, yet this trip I find myself working with park hours, shows and travel time {relying SOLEY on Disney Transportation}.  I have not gotten to the point where I make a spreadsheet on Excel, but I have a legal pad and clipboard dedicated entirely to this trip.  We are staying at the new Art of Animation resort, in a Little Mermaid Standard room.  I have no idea how we will make it from there, to say the Polynesian Resort for breakfast with Mickey and friends.  It is not a straight shot.

{this is also the longest stay we have ever booked at a "Value" resort...we will see how that goes}

I set my alarm for 4:45 the morning that I could begin making our reservations.  My body woke me up at 4:00.  I fired up the laptop and began tapping away.  Staying at a Walt Disney World resort, I was able to book 180+10 days in advance {180 days from our check-in date, and up to 10 days after that for our length-of-stay}  Of course, so many choices were already booked...I didn't even try Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot.  Even Chef Mickey's at the Contemporary Resort was tough to get a decent time.  What???  This was my 180th day, and things were being booked up waaayyy past that.  I was getting frustrated.

What is so magical about having to micro-manage my trip???  What is so magical about not getting a chance to eat someplace new???  I mean, we are a party of three, not twelve...we will even take a table in the corner, by the kitchen door, in the dark if we have to...just to experience something new.

I was able to get everything that I had "mapped out", but I went in knowing that places like Le Cellier and Chef Mickey's would be "bonus" if I could get in.  Pretty much, everything will work with our "schedule".  I was able to get some places we haven't been to, or haven't been to in a long time.  I was able to come up with two options on most days, figuring we have a little while to make our decision...and will definitely cancel in plenty of time, given Disney's Credit Card Guarantee policy.

Here is a quick rundown of the options we have for our trip...

Day 1 ~ (arrival time, park that day) T-Rex at 9:30 pm (great time...and this is what I get booking on day 180?!?!?) or Rainforest Cafe' in Downtown Disney at 5:00 or 7:00.  We are leaning toward Rainforest Cafe', as that is what Little Man asked for.  I am not sure what time to keep, since we don't know what time we will be arriving.

Day 2 ~ this one is up-in-the-air...we have breakfast reservations at Tusker House at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  The last couple of times we have been to WDW, we haven't even set foot in DAK.  I haven't been to Tusker House in years.  I don't even know if Big Daddy has ever been.  Little Man has never been.  This would be good, since it is a character dining experience AND a buffet.  We could finish breakfast then bang out the few things we would want to see at DAK then have the rest of the day to do whatever.  We also have 5:40 dinner reservations to Chef Mickey's.  The dinner there is tried-and-true for us.  We are usually pleased with the offerings {I am a HUGE fan of the chicken tenders and Mickey-Roni-and-Cheese...on the kid's buffet} and we get to see the Fab 5.  No brainer, it is popular.  The advantage to this reservation is that Epcot is open until 12:30 am...after dinner, we could just hop the Monorail over and spend time over there.  {did I mention, we are night owls and love, love, LOVE the  late-night Extra Magic Hours}

Day 3 ~ I made a 8:00 breakfast reservation to 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  This is one for me.  Mary Poppins and Alice in Wonderland.  Sign me up.  I haven't been there for this breakfast in years.  Years. {probably 15-ish years}  I have had dinner there a few times since, but not breakfast.  This is one of my favorites.  We also have ressies at Mama Melrose's at Disney-MGM 's Hollywood Studios.  This was an "add-on" in the event that the boys put their foot down to having breakfast with Mary and Alice.

Not gonna happen.

Day 4 ~ I pretty much decided {in my head} that this was going to be our Disney-MGM 's Hollywood Studios Day.  With my luck, everyone else in Central Florida will probably decide that as well.  DHS is open until 11pm {again, LOVE those late-night EMH} so that means time for Fantasmic! {which I can still recite from my Cast Member days} AND the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights.  I have made dinner reservations at both 50's Prime Time Cafe' (5:45) and Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater (7:05).  Little Man is leaning toward Sci-Fi.  He heard "movies" and "eat in a car" and was pretty much sold.  We have to check the times for Fantasmic! and see what will work best.

Day 5 ~ Apparently I decided this would be a good day for Epcot, because I made reservations for Via Napoli for both lunch (2pm) and dinner (4:30pm).  I *think* my reasoning was that the Magic Kingdom would be open until 1am.  We could play in Epcot, eat, then head over to MK for some EMH magic. 

Day 6 ~ This is the evening we are going to MVMCP at the I made just one reservation to Liberty Tree Tavern.  I loved this restaurant when it was Character Dining.  I understand the menu is pretty much the same, just sans characters.

Day 7 ~ I was kind of stumped on this one.  I booked 'Ohana Best Friends Character Breakfast for 7:30 and the buffet in Germany at the Biergarten at 5:50 that evening.  We have been to 'Ohana for breakfast {and dinner} and we really, REALLY liked it.  As far as the Biergarten goes, Big Daddy has never been, I haven't been in YEARS, but Little Man went when my parents took him to WDW when he was five.  It was apparently his favorite meal the whole time.

Day 8 ~ I actually have three reservations this day.  Crystal Palace for breakfast with Winnie the Pooh and his friends.  I actually loathe Pooh.  The food is supposed to be some of the best breakfast food on property.  This is a buffet, so Big Daddy will be happy.  Little Man loved dinner here when my parents took him.  This is one that I could give or take.  I have also made a reservation to La Hacienda de San Angel for dinner at 4:15.  I really just want a margarita.  I love Mexican, and want to try this sit-down option {last time, we breezed through the pick-up window...and I got a margarita}.  I have also made a dinner reservation to Whispering Canyon Cafe' at the Wilderness Lodge resort.  I think Big Daddy will like this one.

Day 9 ~ this is kind of our "bonus" day...if we have any sit-down credits left, we can use them at either Whispering Canyon Cafe' for breakfast {provided we don't have dinner there the night before} or lunch at Olivia's at Old Key West, which is our family favorite.  I think it would be a nice way to "wind down" before we go home.

See what I mean about stressing out?!?!?  I haven't even BOOKED our Candlelight Dinner Package yet.

I am just going to let it roll...whatever happens will happen, and this is going to be a wonderful trip.

I hope.

Love to All.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chairs, Wooden Decks and Basement Stairs...Oh My!!!

I celebrated a birthday almost two weeks ago.  I have been meaning to sit down and write this post for awhile.

Let's just say that I haven't hit a "milestone" yet, but I am dangerously close.

I am going to be 40 in less than a year.

This should be no surprise to me.

I am not afraid of 40.  30 did not bother me.  25 was hard, but 30 was nothing.

When I turned 30, I was happy.  I had very little to worry about.  I was living in Florida {where the sun shines every day, right?!?!?} I was working for Disney.  I was engaged.  I was carefree.  I was truly happy.

I am not sure what happened.

I am happy, but I am not 100%.

Depression is ugly.  I *think* I have a handle on the anxiety.  The mood swings, the extreme highs and lows...not so lucky.

Not only do I struggle with depression like I never have before, but my weight is a huge issue.

Perhaps my weight has something to do with the depression.  {you think???}

I now weigh more than the average WWE Wrestler.

Have you seen those guys?!?!?  They are huge.  Believe me, I don't look near as good as they do.

I am scared.

Not scared of dying or anything {though I really, am...but not about dying because I am fat, if you can believe that}.  I am scared of breaking things.

Chairs TERRIFY me. 

Back after Little Man was born, I went to a dear friends house.  She had moved back in with her parents, it was a home that I had been in many times over the past 20+ years.  The house was comfortable and familiar.

Or so I thought.

I felt like a giant in this house.  Super-weird.

I sat on one of their chairs (the same chairs I sat on for years and years and years).  They were rolling-type kitchen chairs.

I popped a wheel off.

My friend said it happened all of the time, because of the age of the set.

I think she was being polite.

Mind you, I have put on about 50 lbs since Little Man was born.  So about 50 lbs since this chair incident.

We went to my sister's house for a barbecue over this Memorial Day weekend.

I couldn't enjoy myself for fear that I would break one of her dining room chairs.

Or the deck.

She has a small wooden deck leading to her backyard from her back door.  Five wooden steps.

I hate that deck.

It wobbles.

I also hate basement stairs.  My stairs are okay.  They are exposed, so they are reinforced and carpeted.  I don't like regular basement stairs.

I hate the thoughts that are in my head.  I hate that I can TOTALLY see these thoughts paralyzing me one of these days.  I hate that my weight is holding me back.

So where am I going with this???

I am determined to lose #40by40.

Yes.  40 lbs lost in a year.

I can do it.

I have done it before.

Love to all.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Finishing One Chapter, Starting Another...

Tomorrow is going to be a weird day.

The last day of preschool for Little Miss M.

Kind of bittersweet.  I have been with her since she started preschool a year and a half ago.

Way back when she was three.

She has grown SO much and she has come a long way.

She has wonderful parents {her mom is amazing} and they are supportive in what is going on.

She is ready for kindergarten.

I hope she does okay over the summer.  I am afraid of being out of school for more than two months is going to make back-to-school rough.

I had to step back and make a pretty tough decision.  I was asked if I wanted to continue taking care of Little Miss M when she goes on to kindergarten.

I said no.

I needed to step back and think about what would be best for her.  She is ready to move on.  She needs someone new.  Yes, kids like Little Miss M and my own Little Man thrive on routine and familiarity.  They don't like when things don't go as planned, or as expected. 

I think she will benefit from leaving preschool behind and moving forward to kindergarten.

Now, I won't tell you that transitioning to kindergarten won't be rough for her.  I have a feeling her teacher, parents, new para, everyone involved will be learning a lot about her over the first few weeks.

She might bite.  She might hit.  She might stab with scissors.

But she might not.  She hasn't done that in a long time.

She is growing up.

She will do just fine.

Even if that means leaving me behind.

She needs a new voice and a new pair of eyes.

She needs to spread her wings.

I hope I do as well as she is going to.

I think I'll be okay.

I took on a part-time position {27 hours} working one-on-one with a special needs kindergartener.

This means I can go back to school.

One step at a time.

Love to All.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm back...I Took the Time Off to Study (yeah, that is my story...)

I don't even know where to begin.

I am a hot mess.

There has been a lot going on in the last month or so since I've sat down and blogged.

I have lots of great blogs. {in my head)

Things are slowing down.  Just a little bit.

I am getting back into the whole social media thing.  Twitter.  Facebook (never left, really).  Pinterest (haven't left there, either).  Instagram (my new favorite.  Watch out.)

I passed my Para Praxis yesterday.  That takes the pressure off.  I passed with 480.  They never really gave me a grading scale, just that in order to pass, you had to score 458.  Of course, I Googled it, and apparently 480 is the highest you could score.  I was confused, because I missed a few questions according to my preliminary results.

Whatever.  I don't care.  I passed.

Now, in my head, I was supposed to study every. single. night.

Didn't happen.

I pinned about 387 pins to my various Pinterest boards.

In one night.

Didn't study at all.

That's how I roll.

If everything else in my life worked so neatly.

Can I start pinning crap, and my house becomes instantly clean?!?!?

A girl can dream

Love to All.

Friday, April 13, 2012

I Did It (Again) and Why I Feel Stuck

I joined Weight Watchers.


It works, I just have to work at it.  I am getting back into tracking, watching, measuring, weighing.  It is going to take some work.  Work, emotionally as well.

I can do well for most of the day...then see Dove Chocolate Bars at the checkout at Walgreens.

Wow.  3 Dove bars for $2.00???  Sign me up.

Got home.  Ate.  All.  Three.  I didn't even think about it.  I didn't even taste them. I wasn't even hungry.  They weren't even satisfying.  Not 100% sure what I was looking for.

Today has been better.  Not by much, but better.

Big Daddy wanted McDonald's (of course).  When I was leaving for work, he let me know this, and asked if I would pick it up on my way home around 1:00.  Sure.  I can do that.  I can get a salad.  Big Daddy says he doesn't go to McDonald's for salads.  I tell him that I actually like them, that they are pretty good.

He asks, "so this means you are never eating a burger and fries again???"

"Of course not."  I reply.  "I just won't be getting two double cheeseburgers, a chicken sandwich, a large fries and a diet Coke."

Before you gag, this is what my McDonald's order was "up to", when I didn't order a salad.

"That is what I don't get about 'you people'..." he begins.  {huh???  You people???  People trying to eat just a little better?!?!?}  "You won't get a couple of double cheeseburgers from the drive-thru, but you have no problem eating a burger or two when their made at home".

What the???  Why is he arguing with me???  Why is he bringing up homemade burgers???  All I said is that I wanted a salad.  Defensive much???

"I never said that.  I will still eat homemade burgers...maybe cut out the bun, eat a salad with it, still have fries, but not half-a-cookie-sheet worth...all things in moderation, right???  Just support me on this".  I said.

He said, "We'll see how long it lasts."


This could be why I feel stuck.

After work today, I went to McDonald's and drove my fat a** through that drive-thru.  I got Big Daddy his Big Mac Meal (large-size) with a diet Coke and two "extra" McDoubles (basically, a double cheeseburger with only ONE piece of cheese).  I got a Grilled Chicken Bacon Ranch salad with Low Fat Italian Dressing and a large diet Coke.  Eight Weight Watchers PointsPlus total.

I also got two Big Mac Snack Wraps.  Ate them in the car.  Destroyed the evidence. 

When nobody sees me eat, it never happened, right?!?!?

This is going to be quite a journey.

Love to All.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Man, Disney Is Up To It Again...

Okay, so a bright lining has been found in a sour couple of weeks.

Disney announced new Dooney & Bourke patterns on Tuesday.

Yes.  This makes me happy.  Very, very happy.

Not sure that it will make my wallet (my really cute Walt Disney World wallet that my sister brought home for me) or Big Daddy happy for that matter.  Who cares???  I need a little sunshine in my life, and these come out right in time for Mother's Day.

According to The Art of Disney Parks website and the official Disney Parks blog, two new Dooney & Bourke collections are set to debut on May 12th.  One, is exclusive to the Disneyland Resort.  Reason for us to book a trip to California???  I think so.  {also worth noting that as a self-proclaimed "Disney Nerd, I NEED to walk down the same Main Street, USA that Mr. Walt Disney himself walked down}

The Disneyland exclusive collection looks to be called, simply Retro.  Oh my goodness, I have never been to Disneyland, but I have to have a bag (or two) in this pattern.  According to the The Art of Disney Parks website, the new line will "be available in a variety of popular silhouettes including a wristlet, mini barrel, tassel tote, satchel, letter carrier as well as an iPad case. Prices range from $78 - $268".   

Here are some photos from the Disney Parks blog.

This is the iPad case.  This item seems to be creating the most buzz on the internet so far!!!

This is the letter carrier.  Not my style of bag, but I know it is incredibly popular for use as an in-park bag.  Since I either carry enough for a small army, or nothing at all, I have never considered a "real"purse for use as an in-park bag.  This all could change.

Here is the mini-barrel bag.  Disney and Dooney have been releasing more of this style bag, I think it started with the Comics collection back in December.  I have heard pros and cons about this bag on the internet.  Probably too small for my use, and can't justify the price for use as a makeup or gym bag.

The satchel.  I am not sure of the dimensions of this bag.  If it is like the Large Sketch bag or 40th Anniversary Kristen bag, it is probably too large for my use.  Overall, this is my favorite style in this print.  I will have to see the size of the bag before I make any decision.

Tassel tote.  This looks like it could be more of the size that I use on a daily basis, but what is up with the tassels???  Too long.  They look kind of out of place on this bag.  Just doesn't quite fit.  That is also the general consensus on the Disney Dooney Facebook Fanpage.

Last, but certainly not least...the wristlet.  This is my go-to-bag when I am not sure if I will like a pattern.  This won't be a problem with the Retro pattern.  I already love it.  I am just becoming slightly obsessive about getting wristlets when I get a big bag.  Even though I think this pattern works better on a bigger bag, the wristlet will be mine.

All in all, I think this is the best pattern Disney has released in a long time.  Probably since the 40th Anniversary collection.  I am really excited, even thought I don't have a trip to Disneyland planned anytime soon.  Thankfully, I have made many "friend" in the Disney Dooney community (at least on the Facebook page) and should have no problem getting one.  I can say that I will most likely get the Tassel tote and wristlet.  Even though the tassels are a little goofy, it is the size of the bag I like most.

The other collection released on May 12th will be called "Buttons".  This one will be available at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World.  No photos have been released yet of this pattern.  Everyone is guessing, and everyone can't wait!!!

No word on if the collections will be available online.  All hope is not lost...the Anniversary bags that were exclusive to each of the parks were eventually offered at Disney Store online.  Of course, the Disney Princess Half Marathon Dooneys and Tinker Bell Half Marathon Dooneys were only available at their respective races (and Limited Edition, at that).  Aulani Dooneys  are still super-exclusive to can't even order them via phone orders!!!

Most of all, I am hoping that there is a Retro Walt Disney World line in the works!!!

Love to All.

Monday, March 19, 2012

...Tried and Tested from Pinterest... this afternoon Big Daddy asked me what my thoughts were on dinner...

Dinner???  Yeah, it is the evening meal.  We usually get something through the drive-thru.  I have been known to serve peanut butter & jelly sandwiches.  Dinner???  Not my forte. 

{side note, dinner has been my forte before, but not when I get in one of my funks...and I am apparently in a funk here of late}

Big Daddy took a Ziploc bag of frozen hamburger meat out of the freezer and asked me what I thought about hamburger meat.

I looked at him (like a deer caught in the headlights) and said "what are we going to do with frozen hamburger???".  His answer, hamburgers or meatloaf.

No.  Neither sounded all that good to me.  I love Big Daddy, and will admit that he does the majority of the cooking.  I strongly dislike it when he makes hamburgers.  He cooks them on HIGH, and it stinks and smokes up the whole house.  I swear, the next day my robe smells like hamburgers (ick).  The same goes for meatloaf.  I buy 96% lean ground beef, yet when he makes meatloaf, it swims in grease (???).  It is tasty, but no good for the waistline.

So, I let him set the frozen hamburger out to thaw and figured we would work with it later.  {hoping that he would forget about the hamburger and I could go through a drive-thru after Little Man's swimming lessons}

Well, I was playing around on Pinterest (surprise, surprise).  When I came across this little gem...

photo courtesy of "A Taste of Home Cooking"
Looks, delish...right???
So simple.  The pin takes you to a blog called "A Taste of Home Cooking" .  I had just about all of the ingredients required to make such a delicious looking meal.  Brown up the hamburger meat???  I could totally do that.  Cook with onions and green peppers???  Sure!!!  I went to the grocery store to pick up the few things I needed (beef broth and steak sauce) and left Big Daddy at home to make this while Little Man and I were at Swim Lessons.  We came home {Little Man was starving, and so was I} to a house that smelled wonderful!!  We all made big, heaping plates {everyone was starving, after all} and sat to eat.

The verdict???


Oh, I had such high hopes for this meal.  So quick, so easy, we had most of the stuff on hand.  I won't let this dampen my "love" of cooking.  I will admit, we tweaked the recipe a bit. {I am lazy}  We didn't make the cheese sauce, opting to melt slices of provolone over our meat.  Maybe making the cheese sauce, and mixing it all together would have "held" the meat together better.  It was just cooked, crumbled meat on buns.  We ended up eating them "open-faced" with forks rather than like sandwiches.

Here is the recipe, courtesy of "A Taste of Home Cooking".  There are a lot of easy recipes on this site, and I hope to try more of them out!!!

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 softball-sized onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons steak sauce
1 cup beef stock
Salt and ground black pepper
4 dinner rolls
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
1 cup provolone, shredded

In large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and then brown the ground beef, about 5-6 minutes. Add the onion and green pepper and cook another 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables start to get tender. Stir in the steak sauce and beef stock, season with salt and pepper, bring up to a bubble and cook about 2 minutes.

Split open rolls and remove most of the soft insides, leaving a bed to hold the meat mixture. Toast the rolls and set aside.

While the meat is cooking, melt the butter in a medium-size pot over medium-high heat. Stir in the flour and cook about 1 minute. Whisk in milk, bring up to a bubble and let thicken, about 2 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in the cheese.

To serve, place a scoopful of the meat mixture onto the bottom of the rolls, then top with the cheese sauce and replace the top of the roll.

Again, we tweaked it a bit, so your results may vary!!!

The lowdown...
  • Most of the meat remained on Little Man's plate.  I even gave him a spoon to eat it with!!!
  • I don't care for Steak Sauce, and it tasted like Steak Sauce (I didn't think it would overpower the meat the way it did)...would probably reduce the amount next time.
  • That being said, it was overall pretty bland.  Next time, when we brown the meat, we will add some McCormick Montreal Steak Seasoning to kick it up a bit.
  • Next time, I will make the cheese sauce, and mix it all together.  It won't look pretty, but it might hold together better. 
  • Next time, I will reduce the amount of onion and green peppers...perhaps a smaller onion (the one I bought was about 3/4 lb!!!) and half a green pepper.
I will make this again.  I'm not scared!!!

Love to All.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Newest Disney Dooney & Bourke Collection {and how my collection began} anyone who knows me knows that I love, love, LOVE the collaboration that Disney Parks has with Dooney & Bourke.  It all started in late 2009 when Disney announced that they would be releasing park exclusive bags.  I knew it would be awhile until we got back to the World. {we wouldn't be returning until September 2010 for my sister's Disney Fairy Tale Wedding!!!}  All I could think about for that entire year was my beautiful purse.  I had my heart set on the large Sketch tote.  I saved and saved and saved, and blabbed and blabbed and blabbed about this purse.

What is there not to love about this purse???  Disney had released several more styles in that year, but this was by far my favorite.  We played in the Parks, we had a great time at the wedding, had a blast with the whole family.  I finally told Big Daddy that I was ready to get my bag.  We went to Mouse Gear in Epcot.  {side note: the store located inside Epcot is Mouse Gear.  Gear.  Not Mousegears, not Mouse Gears. No "s".  Not pushed together.  Mouse Gear.  That is all.  End of rant.}. The purses were so beautiful and on display.  I saw that large Sketch Purse.  I held it.  I smelled it.  I felt it.  I was so happy.  The purse however, was much larger than I anticipated.  Even the medium tote was bigger than I thought (who pays attention to the dimensions when looking at something online, anyway?!?!?).  Joy!!!  I could 'downsize' to the Sketch Tassel tote.  Priced at $175, I didn't feel bad spending that money.

$175.  Hmmm.  We spent 10 days at Walt Disney World.  The 'Mommy Guilt' in me set in.  $175 on a purse???  What could that buy Little Man???  I put the purse back on the shelf and shopped for Little Man.  I had plenty of memories of good times at Walt Disney World, both as a Guest and as a Cast Member.  I wanted Little Man to have memories of his own trips.  Something that he could cherish.  That meant more to me.

Fast-forward to Christmas 2010.  The family gift exchange.  I opened my package, and what did I get???  A Disney Cruise Line Sketch Tassel bag!!!  Totally unexpected!!!  My sister and her husband brought it back to me from their Honeymoon!!!  I loved this bag!!!  It totally reignited my obsession with Disney Dooney & Bourke bags.

Disney announced that they were releasing a pattern celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Walt Disney World.  One of these bags would. be. mine.  I was gonna put Mama first this time!!!  I saved my pennies and splurged on the 40th Anniversary Bucket Bag.  Yes.  This is my favorite bag.  My favorite pattern.  I have since bought other bags (denim Erica, first edition medium Sketch tote, countless wristlets and credit card holders) but this is my favorite.  I still have a long list of Disney Dooneys that I WILL own (Minnie Bow tote, Sketch Lucy bag, Aulani Resort bag, Princess Marathon bag, Balloon Colette...and the list goes on, and on, and on...).

Just yesterday, Disney Parks Blog gave us a sneak peek of a new Disney and Dooney & Bourke collaboration exclusive to the Disney Cruise Line.  Reactions to the new bags have been mixed on the Disney Dooney fanpage on Facebook and on twitter.  I am still pretty neutral on this pattern.  It is not the worst one offered.  {my least favorite pattern was the Disney Dream Inaugural pattern, I personally thought it looked cheap}  It is kind of growing on me, but it won't be high on my list of Dooneys to own.  Of course, that being said, I will most likely own a wristlet in this pattern, and I will pay way too much for it because my family is not planning on taking a Disney Cruise in the near future.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, this collection will make it's debut on the Maiden Voyage of the Disney Fantasy later in March.  The collection will remain exclusive to the Disney Fantasy until later this summer, when the pattern will be rolled out to all of the Disney ships (Magic, Wonder and Dream).

To quote the blog, “The new collection will be exclusive to the Disney Fantasy until later this summer when it will spread to the rest of the fleet,” explained Laura Caszatt, product developer for Accessories. “To make the new collection even more enticing for Disney Fantasy guests, the select collection silhouettes on the Disney Fantasy will feature leather embossed luggage tags that showcases it was part of the Inaugural Disney Fantasy Voyages.”

The buzz so far from the Disney Dooney & Bourke fanpage on Facebook is that the pattern is "sophisticated", "subtle", "classy and elegant" and "subtly Disney".  Interestingly, what people like about the bags is what some fans DON'T like about the bags.  Very mixed.  I am still neutral.  The more I look at the pictures, the more I like the colors (the leather trim reminds me of the sand and the blues remind me of the ocean...wonder why they chose those colors?!?!?  Duh!!!).  I won't go out of my way to get anything in this pattern anytime soon (like the Aulani bag...I would give my right arm for an Aulani bag), but I won't be surprised if a piece ends up as part of my collection.

Pricing on this collection will range from $55 - $395.

The Disney Parks Blog also gave us a sneak peek of a Disney Cruise Line bag that will be offered on Hawaiian sailings later this summer.  Now this pattern, I like.  I like the stripes, I like the DCL logo.  I don't know a lot of specifics on this bag, but will share as soon as I know more.  Disney and Dooney have offered a bag in a similar pattern in a denim/canvas material (on my wishlist) but looking at the close-up of the DCL logo, I am wondering if this is a coated cotton bag.  Hmmm. I don't know if this will be offered on ships and cruises after the initial Hawaiian sailing rollout {like Disney Dooney fans are hoping they will do with the Tinker Bell and Princess Marathon bags...release them without the special charm, PLEASE!!!).

What are your thoughts on the newest Disney Dooney collection???  Love it, hate it, neutral???  What is your personal Disney Dooney collection like???  Constantly growing???  What would you like to see on future Disney Dooneys???  I'd love to hear what you think!!!

Love to All.