Friday, August 29, 2014

The final stretch.

It has been a long time since I have taken more than one class a semester. But being that I am just about done, I figured why not. Which means this fall I find myself twice a week sitting on campus amongst kids that were 7 when I started. I know, do the math. It is that scary.

And yet, this semester is not actually classes but rather workshops to help me become a better writer. Both on the technical and the creative side of the scale. I am pretty sure the poetry workshop may be a lot more interesting than my research one, but hey you never know.

However the gentlemen who runs the workshops hates musicals. Believe me after that bombshell, I was about ready to leave. HOW CAN YOU HATE MUSICALS? Especially when you are in the creative writing field. I find it strange since poetry and musicals in a lot of way can go hand in hand but whatever. To each their own.

It is however a little intimidating to walk into a room with a bunch of young kids who totally look like the poet kind. Yes, the stereotypical poets with the long dark hair and the dark clothing. It was sort of funny. And then you have me. It is pretty safe to say I did not look like I belonged there. And my poetry was consisting of rhyming words such as pixie dust, magical and Disney to other things while they were discussing the word fork. Please note, the moment I saw fork I wanted to yell out dinglehopper!!!

But I am pretty sure that would have granted an even stranger look than the kid with the purple and hot pink hair in the corner got.

Onward ho.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My message to all my fellow #DisneyMP hopefuls.

Image is not my own.
A week from today the search for the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panelists begins. Yes a week from now so many of us will be anxiously pacing the floor until the window opens.
If you ask me, it is by far truly the most magical time of year. 

Will I be joining once more? Absolutely I will be. How could I not be joining the lovely waiting room with my fellow hopefuls? After all it has gotten to be something I enjoy and look forward to every year regardless how far I have or have not made it. The waiting room during the few months while the selection process is being made has become more than just a hashtag on Twitter, more than just random strangers, but rather more of a community – a support group to laugh and cry with. And friends have been made; yes each and every one of the hopefuls has become friends.

I was asked the other day if I had any advice on the process. If there was any special formula to consider while applying? There isn’t. The best I could say are things I too have learned from my previous experiences during the process. 

Be you. Be true to yourself. Believe in yourself, your abilities and your knowledge. On the same lines do not feel intimidated that someone knows five thousand little facts about certain areas. But rather relish in and embrace the things that YOU know. Do not focus on what others may or may not know. It will only lead to worry and doubt in your own self. 

Do this for yourself, not for someone else. I realize this may sound silly but it is the simple truth. I believe we put so much pressure to try and live up to something we think others want us to be. On the same sort of line as that, do not try and measure up or be someone you think they want you to be. Realize your own potential. Trust that as well.

Don’t question yourself. The moment you hit submit you will wonder did I do enough? Will they like it? Secretly you will be wondering will they like me? But let it go, let it come naturally. It will. Have a little faith. 

Don’t over think it. Not sure about you but it has been on my mind a lot lately. I have endless amounts of discussions regarding it during dinner conversations, on the commute in to work. During back to school shopping. It is the same way every year. It is so hard not thinking about it, or as some in the community call it, obsess about it. It has become a part of a lot of our lives. With that being said, there is a life out there beyond the application process. Try to live it. Continue life. Even if it is helping those around you have the most magical time on their own Disney Vacations. Consider it great practice for when you do get on that panel

Enjoy it, the process the road and the journey. And yes, it is a long journey. The three months from round one, to round 3–should we get lucky enough to make it that far–is a long one. Yes you will go through every emotion while doing so. But the most important one is to enjoy it. 

Reread, re-edit and redo if necessary. Yes these are just as important. Make sure you double check for spelling errors. What about your key terms? Are they right? You may think it isn’t a big deal but it is. How is that ultra-popular restaurant at the Polynesian spelled? O’Hanas? Ohana’? Or is it ‘Ohana?  

Of course all of this is no guarantee. Many of us will receive the not so magical emails come October. It will be heartbreaking and you will have to wait a whole other year–which will be the longest year of your life–you will no doubt question a lot of things. Some of us will be lucky enough to make it on to the rounds that follow, and some of us will ultimately on to the panel. 

But do not think about any of this for now. As of right now, we are all hopefuls.

Let faith do its thing. Believe in the possibility. Hang on to the magic for as long as your journey lets you.

May the pixie dust be with you.

Friday, August 22, 2014

So long summer....

And just like that we have come to the end of summer. Did you blink? I think I did. Because I am beginning to wonder how this happened. I know for a fact it was Memorial Day yesterday.

OK so maybe not.

But somehow I am finding it hard to believe that a week from now we will be heading into the long Labor Day weekend.

There was something special about this one however. It is the summer that as a parent I have been somewhat dreading for the past six in so many ways.For in the past I have watched as summer faded into fall without little change besides the weather. But come this year, the day after Labor Day I will be just another parent sending her son off to school.

Kindergarten to be exact. Yes I am already working on a blog for that one. Yes it will probably be written through tear soaked cheeks and blurry eyes. Don't say I didn't warn you.

I realize that many are excited for their kids to go back. Some even wish for the years to pass quickly so they can get their houses, and their own lives back. And how many coworkers are cheering that their little ones have grown up, off to college and are no longer around. Or if they are close enough to finishing, they are counting down the days until they are out of the house for good. How could they think this? As it is, It is a thought that at the moment I can't even comprehend.  Nor do I want to. Yes perhaps one day I will be one of those as well. 

Bur as I watch my son grow and turn into a little kid, a young man really; the only thing I wish for is one more day of childhood with him. How I  wish he would stay this sweet little loving boy a little longer. 

Just one day more.

And as we approach the final week of summer maybe we should not push the years ahead of us. Rather we should enjoy the fleeting moments of this year. Of this summer while we can.

Because as we know it, the years? They fly by too quickly.

Embrace the time you have.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom: a no cost adventure.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom Cards
Every year when we make our way down to what is now our annual Walt Disney World vacation, we make it a point to do something we have yet to do.  This could be a new restaurant, a new ride or a new experience. Sometimes they cost a little extra, often they don’t. One may think these would be coming harder to find given the fact we are quickly racking up the number of times we have visited. And yet the joy of a Disney Vacation is the fact that is continuously changes. They are forever working on, improving something or adding new things. Believe me it is part of the appeal to us.

But this summer’s trip would be different. There wasn’t just the three of us to find something new to do. We had to think about something for seven. And despite our money saving efforts, our tricks and trades of it all, a trip to Disney still can be rather expensive which meant finding something new to do that didn’t cost us a dime, while still keeping the magic.

Does this even exist?

Sure it does. Yes, Disney does in fact have things that you can do for little to no cost; you just have to know where to look.  And perhaps a couple of Disney World fans who go on a yearly basis as family members.

Actually my nephew was the first to bring up the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game. He had heard about it from a friend who had just returned from there herself.

And here we thought we would be listening to him list off all the big thrill rides he wanted to do.

When he first brought up interest in the game Anderson and I admitted it was something we had never actually done ourselves. Did we know about it? Yes. On previous trips we had watched guests run around Magic Kingdom holding up cards to virtual portals, but Logan had never taken much interest in it. He was three or four after all and didn’t know how to read anything beyond his name.  But when my nephew asked if we would do it, we agreed, figuring why not give it a go this trip. Besides, we like to find new things to do on each and every Disney vacation taken. Even more fabulous Logan finally seemed interested in it as well.

I have to say this game was a lot of fun. What I loved about it was this; it was quick-each mission lasted maybe fifteen minutes. Just long enough to keep the boys interested and short enough that we were still able to enjoy our FastPass+ experiences. It was simple, which is pretty great considering when I am on vacation thinking is not something I truly want to do. It was also something that all seven of us partaking in the adventure, really enjoyed, including both my mom and my dad. As we had split into two groups, returning back to the hotel at the end of the night to hear about each others mission turned out to be some of the most entertaining and fun conversations we had during the trip.

Although you need park admission to get in, the game itself is free. Completely free. BONUS!  The cards made for a great take home souvenir!

I mean who doesn’t enjoy free souvenirs. Truthfully I think the boys enjoyed finding out what cards they got as much as they did trying to defeat their missions.  Not to mention the endless hours of trading back in the room afterwards. And unlike half of the other toys that were carried-or rather stuffed-home, the cards have not lost their appeal thanks in part to a take home game for them we picked up. Yes that is right, the boys are still happily messing with them, trading away and trying to figure out who has the rarest of the cards, and what will it take to get the other to trade it.

Yes, Disney can at times get expensive. But sometimes, all you really need to do is send them to pick up a pack of cards at the Firehouse on Main Street U.S.A, to have a magical time.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

An app worth mentioning....

I am not one to do reviews, promote or rave about things, especially when it comes to apps. I do not tend to fall for the gimmicks of games such as Farmville, Angry Birds, Candy Crush or whatever game just happens to come along and sweep the nation by storm.

It is just not in my nature.

But on occasion something comes along and grabs my attention. In this case, apparently grabs it enough to actually find myself thinking, well hey I shall share my opinion of this to the world–or rather the small amount of people that may read this–and so here it is:

Just before vacation I was watching TV, don't ask what, I will deny it anyway when a commercial for an app came across. They are becoming quite popular these days, the ads for apps that is. Tending to ignore them I went on about my business, until it mentioned free. FreePrints. As in free photo printing.

Which lead me to pause and wait for it to come back on again swearing I heard wrong. But I didn't. Before long I found myself jumping on my iPhone, searching until I found the FreePrints app and downloaded it. If nothing more, it was a waste of two minutes.

So what is it then?

Its a free printing site, as you may have guessed by the name which gets you:
  • Up to 85 4x6 free photo prints per month
  • Limit 1 free print per photo
  • Max 1,000 4x6 free prints per year
Which is the perfect amount of prints for my needs, and would save a heck of a lot of time trying to figure out how to attach my phone to the Wal-Mart printers they have.

I had to ask myself what about the picture quality? The service? Would it be worth it? I decided to wait until after vacation to figure it out. So when I got home I placed my first order. Bonus! My first 10 prints were free! As was shipping and handling which meant I paid absolutely nothing. Not a bad deal if you ask me! If they turned out crappy, I wouldn't have wasted anything other than the small amount of time it took to figure out which photos I wanted.

I hit submit and began waiting the 5-10 days they estimated.

They came in only three, thanks to an expedited service they threw in just for being a new costumer. When I got them, they were neatly packaged in a bundle just waiting for me to open them. And what I found when I got them was this:

They were not in fact bad, they were actually really good! The photos that did turn out bad was not due to the printer but rather the photo taker herself. For free photos, I was more than pleased with my discovery! The quality of the paper, the prints and the speedy delivery definitely made me a very happy customer, and one that will be returning in the near future!

For more information, including links to the app please visit

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

In memorial. Robin Williams.

For the better part of the day I have been sitting behind my desk trying to put into words the thoughts that I am feeling regarding the death of a beloved actor, comedian. Genie. I have written and rewritten posts about it, never liking the final version. The best that I have thought of is silence because words right now don't seem to express quite enough. .

Perhaps that is enough for the moment.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My mom, a couple of thrill rides and a little Disney.

This is not my photo, I do not take credit for it.
Thrill rides and my mother, three words that do not go together at all. In fact when it comes right down to them, my mother tends to look the other way and not walk, but run right past them. She isn’t fond of heights, anything that moves fast and huge hills, which pretty much exclude just about every thrill ride. Hey, I suppose they aren’t for everyone.

How she managed to get three daughters however that flock to them is beyond me. 

Four years ago we took a family vacation to Walt Disney World, promising to not force anyone on any ride they didn’t want to go on. Still somehow my sisters convinced her to at least attempt Soarin’. Despite my efforts to warn them she would not like it. She ended up crying through the entire ride swearing to this day it was one of the worst things ever.

So you can imagine my surprise when she announced she was going to try it again when she came with us on this year’s summer trip. She was not only going to try Soarin’ but she wanted to give The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train a go.  I figured she would change her mind once we got there and actually saw it, because let’s face it she did swear never ever to get on it again. And I was not going to push for her to do it again if she didn’t want to. 

Still she insisted and we made our advanced Fastpass+ selection ahead of time-if you are planning on going to the parks, this is something I highly suggest you do. It is both a time saver and ensures you get the rides you want. For both attractions knowing full well she may back out and the Fastpasses would either have to be rearranged or go to waste. 

It was a risk we were all apparently willing to make. 

I will be honest however and say I had my doubts. I knew how much she hated the first go around. I didn’t think anything would change really. I held my breath as we pressed the Magic Bands up to the Fastpass reader and watched it light up. I wondered if she would back out at the last minute.

Perhaps it was the fact she did not want to disappoint my nephew and my son, or perhaps it was the fact she was determined to do it again. Or maybe she figured it was time to face her fears.  The reason in truth does not matter it is in fact of little importance, but what it important is this. My mom, the one who hates thrill rides and avoids them at all cost, not only sailed through Soarin’ but made her way on to The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as well. Yes there was some pretty touch and go moments there, especially when the coaster came to a stop halfway up the hill mid ride, but overall, she handled it like a pro.

She did this without shedding one tear. 

I fully realize Soarin’ on many accounts is by no means a thrill ride. It does not take you from turn to turn whipping you around but it does however bring you to new heights. And when it comes to “coasters” the Mine Train is calm. It’s also one of the most incredibly smooth ones I have been on and very much of a beginners coaster.

But to her, it was that and so much more. It was facing her fear head on and meeting the challenge and accepting it. Will she ever do them again? It remains to be seen. Perhaps once was enough.

Either way, seeing my mom get on the two rides and watching her reaction to the whole thing including how proud she was of the accomplishment was priceless in its own right.

And if you ask me? That is the sort of magical memories Disney vacations are made of.