I’ve always looked forward to my evening blog post. It’s a time to reflect on the day, gather my thoughts, share what’s on my mind – whether it’s something of huge importance or just a little blurb about my life. Lately though, by the time the girl is asleep in bed beside me, I find I’m too run down and tired to be much in the mood for blogging.
Lily-Ann is a “high need” kid (a term coined by Dr. Sears). She’s never been easy. She’s challenging, but oh so worth it. She’s super bright, creative, head-strong, determined, yet compassionate and full of empathy. Her emotions are always heightened and many would find them exaggerated – a fact that was nailed home in her report card, which came home right before Easter break. And all this would be just fine, if she wasn’t such a chip off the old block.
My emotions tend to get so tied up within whatever she’s feeling that I’m just exhausted by the time I’ve laid down with her to read our nightly chapters. What she feels has always translated directly into what I myself feel. When she’s happy, I’m happy, when she’s upset, I’m upset. I honestly can’t see beyond her pain when she’s hurting – and that includes when she’s in the middle of a temper tantrum… which has been happening on a more and more regular basis in the evenings.
I’m exhausted, and can’t think of anything to write beyond that.
People talk about “the terrible twos”… Lily-Ann was a BREEZE at two, and good-natured trouble at three. At four she was everything I could ever have hoped for – and then some. We’re now at five and a half, and wow! While I still wouldn’t call her terrible, there are times when she brings out the terrible in all of us.
I’ve got all sorts of parenting skills. It comes from a lifetime of parenting those around me. I have multiple siblings who are young enough to be my own children. I’ve been babysitting since I was ten (which seems crazy in retrospect). My family ran a daycare when I was a child and a teen. Parenting just kinda comes naturally. But even I am left with nothing left after an hour of break-downs over everything including something as trivial as a piece of scrap that missed the wastebasket by 1/2 cm.
Now, I know this will pass. Every child goes through phases where things are just more than they can handle. However, while we’re in the middle of this particular tempest? Blogging isn’t exactly my priority.
And hey! Advice, ideas, suggestions, and pats on the back are ALL appreciated just now. I know, as parents, this is something we’ve all faced (or are going to face) at some point.
Well, we’re here! The sixteenth annual Breaking the Silence conference at the University of Saskatchewan is tomorrow! There is still time to register – though not much. So if you haven’t done so, get’r done! There really is no time left. Get your registration done tonight! All the details are here: http://www.usask.ca/education/breaking-the-silence/index.php
And because you asked for it, I’ll be doing my session on understanding sex, gender, and orientation TWICE. That means you’ve got an extra opportunity to get in on this discussion if you missed it last year. And even if you did get in last year, because I conduct it as a discussion, it will never be the same as where we go is truly directed by YOU.
Okay… now for a few fun pictures.
It was 80′s day at Kid kid’s school today. Normally I’m all for spirit days and getting dressed up. But an 80′s day? Two thirds of everything that the cool kids are wearing these days are totally 80′s inspired – which means every day is 80′s day. Seriously, every item the girl wore was out of her usual wardrobe.
That said… the 80′s were about excess… so we loaded on the bangles, we loaded on the belts, we loaded on the hair spray… and we added slouch socks – because that’s one style that didn’t make it back. And because it’s Thursday, that meant that I had to get dressed up too, after all I couldn’t spend the afternoon at school and NOT take part in 80′s day. LOL So I found the perfect jacket (and stuffed socks under my bra straps to mimic shoulder pads), pulled on some black leggings, a gold lamé skirt, and again with the slouch socks. Then we did our hair and make-up… everything in excess! It was great.
I’ll admit, I’m still torn as to whether I should keep on blogging about Walt Disney World or go back to life as we used to know it here at TD365. So what I’m thinking is this; I’ll write about what I feel like writing about. Cause, well… that’s what I’ve done for the last few years here. LOL Why change it now. That doesn’t mean I’m done writing about Disney, it just means I’m going back to writing however my muse pulls me. Sound good?
Now, I think I’m going to cuddle my sleeping girl for a bit. Watch a little streaming TV with her Daddy. Then tuck myself into bed for the night. I’m missing Bran tonight. He would have commented on my last post… and written to me on FB today. I have a feeling my one FB post would have prompted a good laugh between the two of us. Losing a much loved friend really freakin’ sucks.
The last of the four Walt Disney World parks is Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I realize it’s cliched to say it, but while it’s the last it’s not the least. Hollywood Studios is AMAZING! I’ve already shared the photos from the girl’s Jedi Training School experience, which was totally incredible and jealousy inducing, but that was just one small part of our day.
There are just a TON of character meets at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the lines were minimal compared to many of the other parks. There’s a bunch to do, yet this park doesn’t feel quite as overwhelming as the others (of course, by this point we had our system pretty much perfected – which really helps). And it’s not totally kid-centric either, which was great. This park definitely had the broadest appeal, with everything from Star Wars to the Muppets to Phineas and Ferb to Pixar’s greatest hits to classic Disney as well. We loved everything about this one. It was fabulous!
This truly is THE park. When people who have never been to Walt Disney World talk about Disney World, THIS is the park they are usually talking about. It really is quintessential Disney.
When you are planning your WDW vacation plant to spend at least two days at the Magic Kingdom. There is so much here that really shouldn’t be missed, and even with two days devoted to this park there are things you’ll have to skip. I promise to go into the rides and shows in more detail on another post – listing the must dos and the must avoids. But for now? After such a long day? I’m going to jump right into the photos. After all, that’s really what you want to see, isn’t it?
I’m a planner. I like to know what’s going to happen and when. It takes away the chaos that is present in so many activities when you have an AD/HD family, and just ups the enjoyment factor immensely. So it wasn’t long into our Walt Disney World trip that I developed my own way of doing things. And as promised, I’m going to reveal a few tips and tricks to make your Disney trip stress-free and a whole lot more enjoyable too.
I’m all about keeping things simple, easy, and stress-free. Thus my tips are all about doing just that. And one of the BIGGEST helpers are those kitchy little maps they have for all the Disney parks. GRAB THOSE MAPS!
The night before you head to a park, sit down with the map and figure out your MUST HIT attractions, character meets, rides, and dining experiences:
I just laid on the bed in our Finding Nemo room at the Art of Animation resort, and using one of the pens from our room sketched little brackets around everything that we really wanted to do that second day in the park. We had already spent one day there, so it a lot of our must do’s, but there were still a lot left on our list. I tossed in a question mark on any attraction that we really wanted to do, but that wasn’t a top priority.
Then I went through the map, and drew stars beside each of the must do rides/attractions/events/dining spots, and a question mark on the want to do ones:
Lastly, but SUPER important not to miss, go through and mark an FP on all the places you’ve marked so far that offer a fast pass. Using the fast pass system makes your life SOOO much easier. So be sure to take note of which spots actually offer them and mark them on your map. You can see them on the map above, but here’s a close up of Fantasyland and New Fantasyland:
When you first hit the park, go directly to the closest area and get your first fast pass. Take note of what time you need to be back there, and then decide to do the remaining STAR attractions/rides now or closer to when you need to redeem your fast pass. You can only get a new fast pass once every hour, so once you’ve gotten one, then hit some of your starred rides and attractions that don’t offer fast pass while you wait until enough time has passed to get your next one.
Having these maps, and your choices charted out on them, really is a small thing. And honestly? It only takes about twenty minutes to do – and is a great relaxing activity for the adults in your party to tackle after any younglings are asleep. It’s a small thing that makes a BIG impact on your park experience. So take that little bit of time the night before each park visit. It saved my sanity and made our trip SOOO much more enjoyable.
I had three completely unrelated things to share seeing how I needed to post a photo for challenge days 18, 19, and 20… but then I realized I could very honestly share a project the three of us worked on today and have it fit for all three topics. Yeah, it may be a bit of a cheat – but it’s not a huge one, especially considering I did grab snapshots on both Friday and Saturday, even if I’ve decided to only share a series of images from today. LOL
But first? First I have to share a really quick little story that is super cute and totally warmed my heart.
On Friday I was over at my parents place – watching everyone so Mom could go with Dad to an out of town gig. When Marie, my sister (whom Lily-Ann is named after), got home she came upstairs as usual then asked for my attention. I stopped working on supper and looked over at her: “Yes Marie?”
And with that she held up the index finger on her right hand as if to say just one second. Then she bent WAY down to where little Thor (one of my puppies from the Avenger litter whom is now my Dad’s puppy) was standing, and gave him a little pat. She then stood back up. “Moby.”
My sister, who has never been much of a pet person and who does her best to just ignore the other two dogs in the household, gave me a great big grin and an enthusiastic thumbs up. To which I replied “Awwww…. Marie! I’m so glad you like him. He’s a cute little guy, isn’t he?” She nodded in approval, which made me feel awfully wonderful.
Okay… now onto my challenge photos.
So, I need to share for something I bought, sweet, and someone I love. Well… here are the girl and her Dad working together to put up the last couple of shelves in her room (which he and I started putting up while she was out with my sister Riki earlier today). I think this series of pictures covers all three challenge topics pretty darn well.
For the last couple of years we’ve been scrimping and saving… often as little as ten bucks here or twenty bucks there… putting it aside in the hopes that we’d have enough money to take the girl to Disney World while she was still young enough for the magic to be “real”. It’s a stupidly expensive trip, and we’re a low income family, so we knew we’d be saving for a few years (at least). Then we sold our house. Yes, we bought a new one. And yes the new house has issues that we really should fix before doing anything else… but instead of renovating the bathroom, insulating the walls, fixing the plumbing, or purchasing a new oven and dishwasher? We’ve used the cash to top up our savings and we’re taking the girl to Disney World!
The problems with the house will still be here when we get back, and we can slowly work towards fixing each problem… but the magic of a place like Disney World only holds true for such a short while. And even by the time they are seven, kids know way too much to put their belief in actors and actresses paid to portray cartoon princesses and princes.
Kid kid is five and a half, and if we have a way to do it, I couldn’t imagine not taking her on this type of once in a lifetime trip. So on January 28th Damon, Lily-Ann, her Auntie Jewles, and myself will be hopping on a plane and heading for Orlando – and we’re not coming back until February 6th! Thankfully my sister Riki and her girlfriend Kate have volunteered to stay at our place to care for our animal family, which puts my mind at ease over leaving them all for so long.
When I decided to do the January photo-a-day challenge I could think of no better time to announce our trip than on the day we’re challenged to photograph “happiness”. After all, what greater happiness can there be then seeing a dream come true and taking your daughter to a place where all her childhood fantasies can materialize right in front of her. Pixie Hollow, Cinderella’s Castle, Prince Eric’s Castle, Belle’s Cottage… and all the characters who belong there. She’ll get to experience it all!
So yeah… There may be smarter things we could do with the money, but there certainly isn’t anything more wonderful!
I spent a lot of my time through the morning and afternoon thinking about what I could share for “favourite”. After all, there are so many ways a person could go with such an open ended photography challenge. I thought about it while brushing my teeth, while running errands, while watering the plants… It wasn’t until it was almost time to pick up the girl from kindergarten that I settled on my subject matter. I would share my favourite piece of art.
I’m an art collector. I love original art. Due to lack of funds I often have to be creative to feed this particular passion. Trading and bartering are wonderful things – and something I encourage even in my own line of work. As a photographer I’m happy to trade time and skill with other artists and craftspeople.
My collection includes work by local talent, and those across the globe from me. It includes digital works as well as more traditional pieces. I’ll admit to the inclusion of a print as well – it’s an Emily Carr, and as much as it would thrill my soul to have an original of hers, purchasing one would put us out on the street… where it’s especially difficult a collection.
And through all this variance, and all this beauty? My current favourite piece of art is hanging on my fridge:
An untitled, four part piece, in ink, glitter, and stickers on construction paper by Lily-Ann Smith and her Uncle, Wilson Yandt:
One of my favourite memories from our first month in this house was watching the two of them sitting at her art station shortly after my brother had moved in. I loved listening to the back and forth, the love and genuine sharing. It filled my heart in a huge way. And I think what they created together is beautiful. It is bright, vibrant and full of goodness. There is a real possibility it may end up in a frame before the Winter is out. I think it would break my heart if anything were to happen to it, so while it’s on the fridge now, I think it will be much safer behind glass.
Tomorrows challenge will be much easier.