aidan

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. :)

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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!

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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. :)

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summertime.

Summer

Summer summer summertime….
Time to kick back and unwind….

So far for me, this has not been the time to kick back and unwind!

It’s been a very busy couple of weeks. Friends visiting from out of town, stints at VSA, us going out of town, events… I wonder if my summer is shaping up to be a busy one? I feel like, now that it’s warmer out, everyone wants to do ALL THE THINGS.

More Friends
me with jen · me with kelly
me with mia · me with kristie

I want to show off my cute new outfit. Well, it was new a couple of weeks ago anyway.

Cute Outfit
sunglasses: Juicy Couture · headphones: Bose
crochet top, necklace, headband: Buckle · cami: Forever 21
jacket: Kohl’s · shorts: American Eagle · boots: Steve Madden

It’s been a few weeks and the temps seem like they’ve stabilized… somewhat. There are still some 50F nights in the near future, which I don’t like but I’ll take them over single digits and teens any day. Especially if I don’t have to go out in them. In fact, I managed to burn myself pretty good over the weekend. I don’t think I’ve been this sunburned since I was in college! I woke up Saturday morning looking like Rudolph. Thank GOD for my Shisiedo BB cream. It would have helped if I’d used it BEFORE I went out Friday, seeing as it has SPF in it, but I didn’t anticipate being out so long.

But before then, I had a week of socializing. My friend Kristie, who I’ve known forever on the internet, came to Chicago to celebrate her 30th birthday. Luckily, I was free to hang out, so we had sushi and got to spend some time together. I knew she was pretty but I was not prepared when I saw her in person. Girlfriend is stunning. And sweet as can be. I really enjoyed hanging out with her.

Me & Kristie

I had to work a couple of days that week, then Angelo was in town for Memorial Day weekend. We hung out Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (and can you believe I didn’t get one photo of us? I guess I was too busy living in the moment). My friend Hillary came over Saturday night as well. I ate myself sushi-stupid that weekend. Regrets? NOPE.

Tuesday, Adam and I headed to Columbus, Ohio because my baby was having a promotion ceremony! He’s done with elementary school and will be starting middle school in the fall. My friend Jen told me to just shut the hell up right now because there was no way, right?

But it’s for real! Aidan’s truly growing up.

Promotion Ceremony

The ceremony was nice. School gyms are not air-conditioned so it was warm in there, even for me. I felt bad for all the normal people with regulated body temperatures. It was awesome seeing Aidan, hearing the kids’ speeches, and seeing my friend Kelly, who I hadn’t seen since 2008.

The next day, we dropped Aidan off at school (I was confused too, but they still had two days left!) and drove up to Cleveland to visit my mom! We ate delicious dinner at Corky & Lenny’s, and I got to see Janae and Terri and Geneva. Thursday, we had Bob Evans and then drove back to Chicago. I was exhausted, but managed to get some decent sleep. Friday, I got up and headed to Milwaukee Ave. to see my friends Reshma, Genevieve, and Amy. I hadn’t seen them since November and it was nice to catch up.

Yoga

Saturday, Jen and I headed to Grant Park to experience Wanderlust in the City, a free yoga festival. Another day out in the hot sun, but this time I was smart enough to use SPF. (OK, some friends on twitter advised me to use it because apparently sunburn on top of sunburn is NOT GOOD.)

I did two yoga classes, drank a TON of water, and Jen and I posed for a lovely photo.

Yoga in the City!! #wanderlust #wlchicago @wanderlust ??#yoga
l- jen, r- me

Then we came back to my place and went out for… take a wild guess. Here’s a hint: it rhymes with ooo-shee. Then we went out to delicious Brown Cow and had ice cream. It was as yummy as I remembered.

Hell yeah. @yumbrowncow #yummy

THEN I found a planner group on Facebook. And more planner groups. I don’t know if you remember me lamenting the loss of my Life Planner a couple of months ago. I bought a Bloom planner but it wasn’t the same. There’s something about the Life Planner that just works for me. So I ended up ordering a new one on the very last day they had the 2014 ones in stock. Then I waited on pins and needles for it to arrive. I felt so relieved when it was finally here. Now I felt right again.

Apparently, there are people who decorate the crap out of their planners. See, I use some stickers and draw a few pictures and use lots of pens. But these people go all out. It’s fun to see them. The best part is that there are people out there who are planner/pen crazy like I am and it’s fun to chat with them. I don’t feel so alone/weird now! :)

planner
my week

I spent a lot of time hibernating in the winter. I’ve made up for it the past two weeks, and Aidan’s arriving on Saturday! I plan to do a lot more activities with him, instead of us sitting at our computers all day. I’d like to go to the Planetarium, Legoland Discovery Center, the beach, the zoo, and more. I’m determined to make loads of memories this summer.

OK, that’s all for now. Till next time….

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(extra)ordinary time.

New York City 2013

The Christmas decorations are down and put away. Chicago’s been in a deep freeze for days now. It’s a whopping 0F as I write this, which is somewhat of an improvement over the -14F we had on Tuesday. Although, when it’s this cold, it doesn’t even matter what the temperature is. It’s just effing cold, and I effing hate it. Truly, I have not been out of the house since December 30. I don’t get cabin fever like a lot of people I know, but even I’m ready for this to be over. Thankfully, temperatures are predicted to be normal by the weekend, so I can get start going to yoga again, and I can start acting classes. (I’m also out of some of my favorite foods, and I need parmesan cheese. We also need cat food.)

Freelance work is starting up again–I have a gig with VSA later this week. Aidan heads back to Columbus later this evening. (One good thing about this horrible weather? I got extra days with Aidan! Always a good thing. I will be sad when he’s gone.)

I realized that I didn’t really do any Christmas posts on my blog in 2013. Truthfully, I found it really hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year. I nearly didn’t decorate, but knowing that Aidan was going to be here motivated me. (He seemed to appreciate my efforts, but he had more fun twirling in the beads when I took the tree down.)

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I had a nice Christmas, though. We rang in the holiday at Rich’s place (Rich is one of my favorite yoga teachers), where he and loads of other people were cooking all sorts of pancakes. There was also wine. Delicious wine. It was a really great way to bring in Christmas. Even Santa showed up. We sang Christmas carols and kirtan and talked and took pictures. It was a magical, beautiful time, and reminded me of how blessed I am to be a part of the Moksha community.

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can you find me and aidan?
my friend jaylen took this photo.

After the party, we went to Hollywood Grill. That place is open 24/7, and we were still hungry. Good times.

Christmas Day was relaxing because we didn’t have to travel, nor were we hosting anyone. I liked all my gifts. I really enjoyed watching Aidan open his presents, and he was happy with everything (which was mostly LEGO and more LEGO).

Aidan enjoying his new stuff!
see?

My birthday was low key as well. I spent most of the day with Aidan, and I got some cool presents: a Tiffany necklace from Adam, a Mickey Mouse watch from Chris and Aidan, a Mickey Mouse ring from Ivy, and $25 to amazon.com from Grandma Bel. I also bought myself a Ralph Lauren sweater. And a TARDIS blanket.

Birthday gift from Aidan. Untitled Focused better.

For Aidan’s birthday, we took him to a LEGO store and spoiled him some more, then we let him pick where to eat for dinner. (He wanted Harold’s, but we were in the suburbs and knew it would be a while till we made it back to the city, so we had Red Lobster instead.)

Happy Birthday Aidan!!!
happy birthday, aidan!
i can’t believe i have an 11 year old.

All the big time partying has ended, and it’s time to trudge through another Chicago winter. This one is extra hard because it started so early. I get the feeling the North Face coat and new shell I got a couple of months ago was an excellent investment.

But I do have things to look forward to. I’m excited to start going to yoga again. Betty’s Vinyasa 1 class is the perfect amount of challenge for someone whose practice is so sporadic (like mine). I’m also excited to take acting classes. Right now, Living Social has a voucher for a 10-week workshop at Chicago Actor’s Studio. I felt like it was the Universe nudging me, so I went for it. Now I just need to go register and actually start taking classes. It’s going to be interesting to see what comes out of this. I love that I can learn for the sake of learning, and it’s affordable and accessible. The Universe opens so many possibilities when I can take advantage of those opportunities.

That’s all for now. Computer’s battery is like “meh” and I’m like “I should go to bed” and my domain is like “I’m not previewing this anymore dang it” and plus, I’m cold and want to get under my electric blanket. So, till next time……

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