epic adventure: magic kingdom

Magic Kingdom

Yay, Magic Kingdom! We went to Magic Kingdom twice. The first day, Wednesday, Aidan and I got there at about 7:40 or so, but the park was already open! I was confused until I realized that this is a *thing* they do–open super early. We’d even missed the welcome song. No worries, though. We were still there early enough to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad twice in a row, the Barnstormer twice in a row, and get some yummy things to eat!

We managed to pack a LOT into a very long first day. Haunted Mansion (Aidan finally got brave enough to try it–and ended up LOVING it), Carousel of Progress, Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor, Mickey’s Philharmagic, wow, so much. Character greetings (I finally got to meet Merida and she loved our hair!), general people watching, and both parades plus fireworks. And I finally got to eat at Casey’s! I still didn’t get a hot dog, but we shared a big order of fries and they were great. I also got my chocolate-covered pineapple, which always makes me happy. I can’t even remember where we ate dinner. OH! It was Liberty Tree Tavern! Aidan loved the mac and cheese, and I enjoyed the cake.

Catch Him!!!

Our second day, that Friday, we ate lunch at Be Our Guest. I had the Croque Monsieur (grilled sandwich of carved ham, Gruyere cheese, and bechamel with Pommes Frites) and oh my God yes. It was perfect! Aidan loved his pasta with marinara sauce as well. We got there TOO early (I thought the park opened at 8, nope, it opened at 9) so we spent a lot of time people watching. The park did open early again, though, and this time we headed toward Tomorrowland, which was so empty! I got to ride the Astro-Orbiter for the first time in ten years and it was as fun as I remember! And then we did Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger spin, another one I hadn’t done in years. So much fun!

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We didn’t do too much on that second day. I did convince him to do Country Bear Jamboree, which he found entertaining (especially that Blood on the Ground song), and Haunted Mansion and Big Thunder Mountain happened again. I didn’t convince him to try Space Mountain. Maybe next time! OH I did get him to try my churro and he liked it so much he wanted to buy his own! Only a rainstorm rolled in and the cart shut down. So we hung out and waiting until it was safe to open again, then we had to wait for the fresh churros to arrive. SO WORTH IT. We also met the talking Mickey Mouse in Town Hall, and Tinker Bell!

We ended up leaving earlier than I wanted. A storm was rolling in, and Aidan was getting tired and cranky. I was tired too. We headed back to the hotel to rest up. I’m always sad when I leave Magic Kingdom, but I was looking forward to the next day of nothing before heading back to the parks on Sunday.

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Tonight, I missed Magic Kingdom so I went on YouTube and listened to the Dream Along with Mickey show. I can’t wait to go back. :)

epic adventure: animal kingdom

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Our first day in the Disney Parks was Animal Kingdom. It used to be Magic Kingdom always, but I think the crowd calendar or dining reservations or something factored into my decision to start with a different park this time. It was a fun, but short day, even though Animal Kingdom stayed open until 8pm that day.

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We got there and immediately headed over to the dinosaur section, where we hopped on to Primeval Whirl and Triceratops Spin. Aidan was excited to ride Dinosaur again. That ride is fun but it has a lot of jump scares which I am not a fan of, but I’ll take that over Tower of Terror any day (which I used to LOVE).

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He didn’t want to see the Finding Nemo show (“I don’t like musicals”) but I dragged him to The Festival of the Lion King because I wasn’t going to miss it. He liked it. We ate Pizzafari for lunch, went on the safari, and took the train over to the Conservation Station where I made him hold the elephant poop.

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We watched the Flights of Wonder show and that was really cool. I’d never seen it before. I got selected to sit on stage with my camera and *try* to photograph the owl coming at me. I couldn’t do it. It was fun being on stage though!

We had a minor emergency! After using our FastPasses for a second go-round on Primeval Whirl, we marveled at how much faster and spinnier it was compared to that morning. We walked along and I noticed that Expedition Everest had a 10-minute single rider wait. Aidan has no interest in riding that coaster, but it’s one of my favorites. He sat down to play on his phone…and there was no phone there. He’d had it before we got on Primeval Whirl, so I deduced it had to have come out in there. Back to Dinoland USA we went, and we talked to some cast members. Sure enough, they found his phone in one of the cars. The ride was so much more spinnier it spun the phone right out of Aidan’s pocket! But we got the phone back and all was well! And I got to ride Expedition Everest with only a 5-minute single rider wait.

Animal Kingdom is undergoing a lot of renovations, so a lot of what makes the park so beautiful was masked by tall fences and signs. There were some pretty parts, though.

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We didn’t have a very long day at Animal Kingdom. We did everything we wanted to do, and I had a phone call scheduled, so we made an early day of it. It was a super fun day, though. Not too tiring or overwhelming. After my call, we hung out at the resort. I sunbathed by the pool and sent Snapchats. Then at 7:30, I watched the Movie Under the Stars (which was Wall-E) and ate a turkey sandwich and Doritos. It was a relaxing night. We knew we’d need to rest up for Magic Kingdom the next day!

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So obviously, my next vacation post will be about Magic Kingdom! So, till next time!

epic adventure: getting there.

Earlier this summer, Aidan and I embarked on an epic three-week vacation, just the two of us. We were both super excited. We were going to do new things, and I was just happy to have all the time to hang out with my {awesome} kid. The trip started off smoothly enough. We got to the airport, we got to go through TSA-precheck, and we were at security in no time. Things were going great until a storm rolled in and we got grounded just as we were pulling from the gate. Two hours we sat in the plane. And I was freaking out. I’d arranged for a limo to take us from the airport to the resort as a surprise for Aidan and I was worried we’d get tagged as a no-show. The flight status wasn’t updating (it said we were in the air and on-time!) and I was so worried I’d miss this limo surprise for Aidan.

We did get off the ground eventually, though. Thank goodness. I was starting to feel like Chicago wasn’t going to let us go.

On Our Way!

We finally got to Orlando, and the limo guy wasn’t there! I called them and they said not to worry, there was some sort of back up. They’d gotten my message and the flight info and he’d come find me by baggage claim. Meanwhile, Aidan was standing there with HIS bag. My enormous purple bag was no where to be found. Cue more panic! All my cute outfits and hair thingies and OMG nooo!

After a lot of running around and freaking out, we found out that the bag had come in on another flight, so it was on another carousel. Meanwhile, this limo guy, who had finally found us, was so patient and helpful. And when we went out to the limo…the look on Aidan’s face made everything worth it!!!

Riding in Style!

The limo ride included a 30 minute grocery stop, but Aidan and I had a list so we were done in 15. We’d also packed a bag full of snacks and brought that with us on the plane. This trip, we were doing food differently. Instead of eating all of our meals and snacks in the park (I didn’t buy the dining plan), we had a few sit down meals, a few counter service meals, and we ate breakfast and snacks (except special Disneyfied snacks) that we’d brought with us. Every morning, Aidan loaded his bag with granola bars, chips, Pop-tarts, and a bottle of water and a bottle with an energy drink. I did the same. When we got hungry, we’d snack on our bars. Ice water is free in the parks if you get it from a stand with a fountain, so we’d just drink down our energy drinks (I know!) and then fill the bottles up with the free ice water. Instead of sneaking to the food court and dropping $10 on a pizza when the late night hunger pangs hit, I just made myself a turkey sandwich and ate it in my room. Or the night we got back early, I took it to the Movies Under the Stars, and watched Wall-E while I chowed down.

But I’m getting ahead of myself! We got to the Resort (Pop Century) and because of their newfangled system, we didn’t even have to go to the desk to check in. I’d checked in online, and while we were at the airport, I got a text with my room number! We were able to go straight to the room!

And it was a nice room, with a nice surprise waiting for us on the bed:

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After unpacking our groceries and changing, we headed to Downtown Disney. Aidan of course wanted to go to the LEGO store, I wanted to do my own shopping, and I’d thought we’d have dinner there. But we ended up eating at the food court at the resort, which is fine by me because I happen to love that food court. Then it was bed time, because it was Animal Kingdom the next day!

That’s all for now. Next time, I’ll talk about our time in the parks, the awesome dessert we got at Garden Grill, and more. :)

out of sorts.

Daytona Beach

{I know I owe you a big ass trip report and I promise I will get to it eventually. I finally got the photos uploaded to flickr so it’s just a matter of time.}

It’s the end of July already and the temps finally feel like summer in Chicago. Things have been weird since I got back from Florida and the beach. I miss the rental car I was driving, even though it was a boring old Ford Focus. My Hyundai is a 2002 and has none of the newfangled things that the newer cars have as default, so driving the Focus was a lot of fun! And people in Florida are reasonable. The rainstorms come in, people slow down and put in their hazards. (I heard it was the law?) If I need to get over, people actually let me over. I don’t feel like I have to be so aggressive and angry when I’m driving there. I don’t have to be aggressive at all. The only time I hit bad traffic, the entire time I was in Florida, was getting through downtown Orlando. It was smooth sailing other than the rainstorms, where everyone slowed down and drove like sensible people.

It’s hard being back here where driving and parking is a major chore. People on the road are jerks to the max, every man out for himself, being reckless and using their phones. Doing stupid crap like blocking an entire street so they can get a sandwich. Like, seriously? And the traffic lights. The muther effing non-synced traffic lights. Took me 20 minutes to get to work this morning. My office is 1.7 miles from my apartment. I probably could have walked there faster. People don’t wait their turns at stop signs. It’s like a game of chicken. A friend of mine got in a bad wreck recently because of some chick on her phone. Come on. You don’t need to be talking on the phone or texting while driving, people. It can wait.

I’m very happy about the temps being warm. It finally feels like summer here. I’m working for a new client now and it’s been good. I had to go into the office for some on-boarding which was fine. The office is nice and the people there are friendly. It has an agile workspace, which means you can move seats as long as the one you want isn’t taken. I was sitting in a seat by the window but it was way too cold, so I moved to a slightly less cold seat. Now I’m in the office two days a week and working from home the rest. I have a company-owned laptop and I have to sign in through a VPN to access their network. It reminds me a bit of working at Nationwide, except not as political. But that might be because I’m a contractor and not a full time employee even though I’m working full time hours. I like it. :)

On the days I work from home, I open the curtains and the window so I can get flooded with natural sunlight. I also turn off the AC when Adam’s still at the coffee shop because otherwise I get too cold.

My body is getting more and more intolerant to the cold! It’s to the point where 80F is too chilly for me if I’m not in the sun. I need a light hoodie in 80F weather! What is wrong with me? :(

Tomorrow Aidan’s best friend comes to stay with us for a few days. I’m excited for Aidan. I’ve met him and his family and they’re all cool people. Saturday we’re heading to La Grange because Anderson’s Bookshop is opening a new location there. Adam got invited to take part in the ribbon cutting ceremony and there will be other authors there as well. You know how I love authors.

I had hibachi food for the first time in years on Monday. Except now it’s called teppenyaki style? I am not sure when that changed but I don’t mind the new term because IT IS STILL DELICIOUS and I’m craving some right now in fact.

When I was in Florida with Aidan, things just seemed so easy. The only time he got on my nerves was the day he begged me to leave Magic Kingdom before I didn’t want to go. But I think deep down I did, because a storm was rolling in and I was exhausted. I was being stubborn because it was my last day there and well, that’s always a sad time. Other than that, it was an easy time. We got along really well, knew when to give each other space, had good conversations, and got to relax and have fun together.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures from our trip:

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Yes! We had a really good time. When I was done with the Disney leg of the trip, I was exhausted and ready for the next adventure. But now, the stirrings have come again and I wish I was back at Disney World. But maybe not until fall. And I want Aidan with me again.

But now, it’s regular life. Things don’t feel quite as easy. Working. Writing. Revising. Video games. Reading. Too much time on the computer/iPhone/iPad. Working a lot which is a blessing and I am not complaining. Trying to make myself go to more barre classes. It’s challenging now because of timing. I miss yoga. I went to The Dailey Method for the first time yesterday in a long time. It was good. I’d missed it. I’ve been sneaking back to yoga as well. I want to do more. I need to do more. Some of the clothes I could fit before vacation are uncomfortable on me now and I’m not okay with that.

There is good. So I’m not sure why I’m feeling so… weird. Actually I know exactly why. But I don’t feel safe enough to write it here. So I keep it inside. Or I vent to people I trust deeply because they’re the only ones who will listen and not shrug me off or tell me to get over it or try to outdo me. Or I retweet a few people who say what I’m thinking and feeling but only the mild versions because I don’t want to be harassed by trolls. Not that I have that big of a reach or anything anyway. Every other day I see something, not even in the news because they won’t report on those things, but through social media that knocks my feeling of self-worth down a billion notches. I second guess everything. I second guess my very existence.

I see loss on my news feeds too often. And it gets me to thinking about my own mortality. And I think I’m not ready for my time on Earth to end, and I worry that I’m wasting the time I have. I’m realizing there are things I will never experience in this lifetime. Some of them I’m OK with letting go. Others, I am already grieving for. Sometimes I don’t even know what I want in this lifetime and other times, it seems as clear as day. I just want to leave a legacy.

I downloaded this graphic from someone’s tumblr the other day. Trying to make myself believe it but honestly, it’s getting harder and harder. {I have GOT to stop reading the comments. They help NO ONE and end up making me feel even more horrible about myself.}

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Because I feel like those messages are only meant for “certain” people, and I’m not in that group. I doubt people like me are who these graphic makers have in mind when they make them. I doubt almost everyone’s intentions and am finding it hard to trust anyone deep down. On the surface, all is well. I’m sunshine and roses hooray! Inside, my mind is spinning a million miles an hour, wondering if the people who smile in my face would turn their backs if I said the things I really feel and think about so many things in this world. It’s happened before. I’m used to being the one left behind, chosen against, ignored.

But on the bright side, there are those who have stuck around, and those are the ones I should be embracing with all my heart because they know my shadows and love me in spite of them. So. Times like this are the times I always learn who my true friends are.

I don’t even know what *this* time is…except we have a Blue Moon coming up, we’re in the throes of Venus retrograde, AND Saturn’s in retrograde (but not for much longer) and that’s throwing cosmic energy all over the place and it’s affecting me big time this week. I suspect my depression is trying to flare up as well. Like I need that right now. I really don’t. But sadly, despite what many people think about depression, it’s not like I can control when it hits. I can just try to take my medicine, eat better, exercise, and …self-care self-care self-care. SO MANY FEELINGS and I’m getting overwhelmed by all of them. Maybe it’s time for bed. I think it’s time for bed.

Till next time.

currently.

Current view. #beach #vacation #jekyllisland #jekyll #ocean

reading.
THE ONE by Kiera Cass

watching.
I finally watched TANGLED for the first time. Does that count? Other than that, not much.

loving.
My new bags!

listening to.
Rivka
Kodak to Graph
Annelise Collete
Sia
Foxes
Alina Baraz, Galimatias

wearing.
jeans
tee-shirts
yoga pants
flips flops
rompers
sneakers
hoodies

enjoying.
reading all the things
writing

eating.
whatever

looking forward to.
now that the trip is over, not much, not yet

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