Category Archives: Parenting

We’ve upgraded!!!

I photographed a beautiful wedding today.  The brides are so much in love that it just radiated off of them.  Their joy was infectious.  And even me dragging them into the snow in -30something temperatures couldn’t dampen their spirits.  I do have to admit, jumping back into the car after being out in that cold made me think about how great the temperatures in Florida are going to feel this January.  LOL

It was a freezing cold Yule, and today was just as frigid, but like our two brides?  Nothing is going to put the chill on the excitement I feel about our upcoming Disney trip.

Our big reveal yesterday didn’t go exactly as planned.  Mostly I think the girl was just overwhelmed and didn’t really process the news.  Damon took a video, and I’m hoping he’ll get it to me so I can share it before too long.  It really was cute.  And honestly?  We may have surprised the kid, but she surprised us right back!

We thought all along that staying in a Little Mermaid room at Art of Animation was HUGE for her.  It’s all she’s talked about whenever we’ve talked about Disney World.  So we booked at the AoA resort, in an Ariel room.  It wasn’t where I wanted to be, but I knew it would make her sooo happy.  So when we told her where she’d be staying we were both shocked when she asked if we could stay at a different WDW resort “with different things to explore” we were shocked.  But I have to admit, I was kind of excited.

As of last night we have upgraded from a value resort to a moderate one.  We couldn’t afford to get the Royal Room at Port Orleans (which the girl fell in love with) but we were able to get a standard room – and they are just beautiful.  So grown up, with the most beautiful linens…  and a double vanity (two sinks and mirrors).  It’s going to be a dream come true.  And with the free dining plan that is being offered it only ended up being an extra hundred dollars or so over what our stay at the Art of Animation would have been.  And get this!  Instead of the quick service dining plan, we get the regular dining plan.  Know what that means?  CHARACTER DINING!!!

I am over the moon!  We are going to be eating with Mary Poppins, Alice, the Mad Hatter, some of the princesses, the gang from the Hundred Acre Wood…  it’s going to be amazing!  I was excited for this trip before.  But now?  Now?  OMG!  Waiting just got a whole heck of a lot harder!  LOL

The last day of school…

It’s the last day of school before the holiday break, and so the whole school is having a pajama day.  Everyone looked super cute, and as we were waiting in the class for the bell to ring, the teachers and administration gathered in the hall to sing carols.  It was so much fun.  I’ll admit, quite openly, that while I am excited for the break I am sad to know we are losing one of our two fabulous teachers.  Miss Begg is an intern, and is finished her time with us.

Unlike many interns, who find themselves overwhelmed, and stumble through their internship Miss Begg came in already ready to teach.  She so clearly has found her place with these kids, and has been such a wonderful addition to their class.  We were already super excited to have Ms. Jackson – who is one of the most amazing teachers I’ve ever known – but then to have added Miss Begg to the team?  It’s been absolutely fabulous, and I’ll be sad to see her go (as will the kids).  I’m also excited for her too, as I know wherever this journey takes her she is going to touch so many little lives.

Anyway…

Because tomorrow is Yule, we brought gifts for both Ms Jackson and Miss Begg today.  Normally it’s about a month before Yule and we start to plan.  We’ve made scrapbook pages, blown up pictures, given plants the girl propagated herself (wrote “thanks for helping me grow” on the planter)…  but only a few weeks into this year Lily-Ann told me she wanted me to make tutus for her teachers.  So that’s what I did.

The tutus I’ve made for Rhonda get borrowed and passed around between all the teachers.  They all just adore them.  And I’m thrilled to report that the two newest tutus were equally well received.  Lily-Ann and I both got big hugs, and I’m so glad to have made Ms. Jackson’s and Miss. Begg’s day.  The put them on immediately and began showing them off to the rest of the staff.  LOL  Lily-Ann was just tickled (as was I).

After putting on a Disney Christmas movie for the class to watch, the four of us headed into the hallway to snap a quick picture.  Everyone in their PJ’s (and tutus) next to the tree:

No-one in a kerchief, none in their cap,  but tutus and smiles, and my iPhoto app.

None in a kerchief,

none in their cap,

but tutus and smiles,

and my iPhoto app.

And because this is during the 30 Days of Disney…  Lily-Ann is wearing her velveteen Cinderella PJs.  😉

The new Disability Access program at WDW and the MSEP

A couple of weeks ago I had emailed the good folks at Walt Disney World with a bit of a query.  On our last trip, in spite of the fact that members of our group have several disabilities, we avoided using the Access program.  I believe one should do what they can to avoid any misuse of equal access programs, and while we certainly qualified to use it, if we could do without, it’s what I’d prefer.  I don’t want my daughter or much younger sister growing up thinking they deserve special privileges simply because they face different challenges than others.  And with the old program, anyone with an access card skips to the front of the line – which is clearly not about equality but about special privileges (which is why it was so abused).  Anyway…

I had emailed the people at WDW to ask about seating for the Main Street Electrical Parade.  This was one time when I desperately wished we had requested assistance on our last trip.  The wait resulted in a lot of anxiety for two members of our party, a melt down for one, and a whole lot of pain for two.  Sitting on the concrete for over an hour trying to hold a spot was not good for any of us.  I was hoping there would be some kind of reserved seating available.  Turns out not… they only have special seating for those guests who are non-ambulatory.  She did give me some tips for the parade though, so hopefully that will help.  Because in spite of the pain (both physical and mental) the MSEP remains on our must do list.

So while that wasn’t great news, she did fill me on on the NEW Disability Access program at Disney World – and that is something I’m excited about.  She encouraged me to participate on our upcoming trip, because the new program addresses the concerns I had with the old program.  Now, instead of ushering people to the front of the line, offering special privileges and inviting misuse, it now works more like the old Fast Passes.

Individuals with special needs request a special card, and instead of hoping into line, get it stamped at the entry to the queue.  It is stamped with the time they are to return, so they are waiting for the same amount of time as everyone else in the line.  But instead of having to stand there (and cause anxiety or pain flare-ups or what-have-you) they can then go sit down, eat, run in circles, meditate, draw, go pee… whatever they need to do to mitigate their symptoms, returning for the time on their card.  At which point they rejoin the queue at the place they would have been standing when their card was stamped.  Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t have to stand in line at all, but it does reduce the time in the line without removing the wait.

I love this new accessibility program.  It ensures those with special needs are able to have equal access to the rides, shows, character meetings, etc without granting an advantage and inviting misuse or program abuse.  And I do think this is a much better idea, and is a change I’m looking forward to experiencing.  Granted it doesn’t help with the MSEP, but hopefully by lessening the stress throughout the day (both physically and emotionally) it will be a little easier too…  because it really cannot be missed!  😉

Mickey on the Brain

Lily-Ann is making Mickey pancakes on her breakfast app.

Lily-Ann is making Mickey pancakes on her breakfast app.

Clearly I’m not the only one in the house with Mickey on the brain.  The girl made Mickey Mouse pancakes while she was playing on her breakfast app.  And while yes, this kind of post would be more appropriate on a “Wordless Wednesday” let’s just call this one a “Tired Tuesday”.  😉

I am SOOO ready for the Holiday break!  I don’t know who I was trying to cheer up more when I said to the girl “only three more days of school until the break”.

I’m at school all morning tomorrow, and then I have an School Community Council meeting at lunch.  On Thursday we have the Saputo lunch at school.  Friday is PJ day.  Saturday is Yule.  Sunday I have a wedding to photograph.  Monday I have a family photo session to do, and some Yummy Rummy egg nog to make.  Tuesday is the annual Christmas eve party.  Wednesday is Christmas with my siblings and parents.  Thursday is boxing day, when the extended family will all gather at my parent’s place.  Friday I have a hair cut and a night out with my man.  And Saturday I can kick back and do NOTHING with the kid.  Maybe.  I have a friend in town and we’re either going to have a little mini-high school reunion on Saturday OR Sunday.  LOL  The point is, on Saturday or Sunday next week I get to kick back and do nothing.  LMAO  Yay!  Oh!  I still have one teacher present to make and a gift for one of the Brides.  Yikes!  Tack those onto the to do list for the next day or two.  I do love the holidays, but I am looking forward to a day with NOTHING.  Oh!  Still about eight presents to wrap too.  Gotta get those done.  Am I missing anything important?  Grocery shopping.  Right.  Hard to have a merry holiday pig out without food in the house.  LOL  Anything else?

I’m so glad Yule falls smack in the middle of it all.  While it will be a day with lots going on, it’s ALL just for us.  And I’m so looking forward to seeing the girl’s reaction to the news that we’re heading back to Disney World in mid-January.  😀

Our Advent Calendar

Just like last year, we’re keeping our trip to Walt Disney World a surprise until Yule.  This year though, we’re leading up to the reveal with her advent calendar.  We bought a whole bunch of Disney pins off eBay, and have put them inside dated Disney ornaments:

Disney ornaments from Target

Disney ornaments from Target

So every day the girl gets a new pin.  

She loved the first one:

Wearing her Mickey Mouse pin on December 1st.

Showing off her Mickey Mouse pin.

But by the third was catching onto the theme and finding it less than fun.  Last year her advent calendar included little baggies filled with little toys, MLP clothes, LPS accessories, and other odds and ends with a lot more playability.  Then, by about day five, she realized these are the same pins they use for pin trading at WDW…  and a world of possibilities came flooding in on her.  Now she’s excited to see which one is inside each ornament, and likes to think about which might be keepers and which might be good for trading.

Her first five pins.

Her first five pins.

I am so looking forward to the big reveal on the 21st.  I know she’s just going to be over the moon to learn our next trip is coming up so quickly.  It’s going to be amazing!

WDW Here We Come… again!

We are now one month our from our second trip to Walt Disney World.  We loved our first trip (in January/February of 2013) sooo much, that shortly after returning we began planning for a return visit.  This time we’ll be heading off on January 14th, once month from today, and will again be staying for ten days (two of which are devoted to travel).  Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to bring my sister along this time, but I’m sure it will be just as magical though very different without her.  Oh!  And the girl doesn’t know about the trip yet, so don’t spill the beans.  We’ll be revealing the surprise on Yule!  hehehe

Anyway…

To get in the spirit of things I’m planning to blog “30 Days of Disney”.

I realized in my WDW posts from our last trip that I had barely scratched the surface.  There was still SOOO much I hadn’t shared, and just a ton of pictures that never made it onto the blog.  I can’t wait to start talking Disney with the kid, but until the 21st I’m stuck trying to keep my excitement bottled up.  I’m hoping y’all won’t mind being a bit of an outlet for me.  I am crazy excited about this trip.

So this is the first of 30 Walt Disney World posts.  For now, let’s just recap where we’ve been and what we’ve seen:

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/disneys-magic-kingdom/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/disneys-animal-kingdom/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/disneys-hollywood-studios/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/epcot/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/downtown-disney/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/19/disneys-art-of-animation-resort/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/25/character-meets-at-walt-disney-world/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/from-youngling-to-padawan-at-disneys-hollywood-studios/

https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/disney-nighttime-magic/

Each of the above posts is graphic-laden.  Tons of photos!  And I highly recommend clicking on the pictures to see them a little larger than the thumbnails allow.  They are worth it!  I promise.

And just for good measure, here’s a favourite post of the Pinterest crew:  https://td365.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/doing-disney-the-smith-way/

Disney’s Frozen

Last night we took our daughter to see the new Disney animated movie, Frozen.  I had heard very little about it besides being an adaptation of The Snow Queen and having been heavily inspired by Norway.  The Snow Queen was never one of my favourites (so I’m happy to report it’s a VERY loose adaptation), but the idea of Norwegian princesses???  I was beyond excited for.  Damon’s family and mine both, coincidentally, hail from Norway…  and I very desperately want to make a pilgrimage there some day.  So this was a movie I knew we’d be seeing shortly after it came out.  Knowing what I know of both Disney AND it’s princesses?  Well…  I was nervous.  They don’t exactly have a history of strong female leads.

While Frozen has it’s issues, one cannot argue the absolute joy I found in both Anna and Elsa’s characters.  Both completely unique, strong, believable, awesome female roll models.  These are princesses I would be happy to have Lily-Ann look up to.  They are truly wonderful, and they are NEVER overshadowed by the male characters who are very much there to support their story vs take it over.  In fact, one of my favourite moments, that made the feminist me shout out with a WOOT, was when the romantic male lead actually ASKS if he can kiss Anna.  He doesn’t assume that his advance would be welcome, he doesn’t just put himself into her space, he is worried and concerned and ASKS – allowing her character to take the reins and remain an autonomous individual.  It looks to me like Disney may finally be listening and realizing that Women are vastly different from one another and we all have different goals and dreams…  but that we ALL deserve to be respected for those very things.

And yeah!  The girl is now absolutely tickled when I call her my little Norwegian princess.  😀  Because while she’s a princess who has enjoyed excavators, lego, and swordplay… she really has always been a fancy dress-up playing princess who happened to be Norwegian.

Disney's Frozen

I am Supermom!

Sing with me now:  “I am…  I am Supermom.  And I know what’s happening.  I am…  I am Supermom.  And I can do anything.”

I read a blog post today that I had to come share.  It started out saying:

Look, I know the areas in life where I excel.  It unfortunately doesn’t involve me being a size two and wearing the most. stylish. boots. you ever did see.  I will not be doing a triathlon, I’ll be the one over there handing out water and cheering you on while eating a muffin.  My house isn’t ever company ready.  Just move that pile of Legos, I will make dinner.  I can make you laugh, I can make you think.  I am a great friend.  I am amazing in bed.  I like the woman that I have become.  I can also throw a party like you wouldn’t believe.

My name is Michelle and I throw “Pinterest worthy” parties for my children.

I don’t think this makes me a shitty mom, a superior mom, or that I have too much time on my hands.  I assure you, I do not.

I also don’t think it makes you a shitty mom for NOT throwing parties like that for your children’s birthdays, having a spotless house, and working full time.

I encourage you to check it out here:  http://www.sowonderfulsomarvelous.com/2013/06/moms-when-are-you-going-to-learn.html

The whole point of the post was what I’ve always said, that our priorities and skills may be different, but that doesn’t make any one of us better at being a Mom than the rest of us.  That it’s time we supported one another, cut each other some slack, and honestly do the same for ourselves.

The author goes on to say that she is NOT Supermom.  But you know what?  She’s wrong.  She’s totally Supermom.  Just like you and I.

We are ALL Supermoms.  I mean honestly!  Think about it!

Today, I’ve already walked back and forth from my daughter’s school three times, and I’m going to do it one more time before the day is through.  And yes, one of those three times I seriously contemplated stripping down to my skivies and laying on a neighbour’s lawn because the heat was so freakin’ unbelievable (35 degrees, insane).  But taking the time to make my daughter feel safe and valued?  That makes me Supermom.  Does it make those Mom’s who’s kids are in daycare or who have to eat lunch at school less super?  Hell no.  It just means we’ve made different choices about how best to parent our individual families.  And that’s totally okay.  Being a Mom is tough.  It’s not for everyone (and kudos for those of you who recognize this is not the life for you BEFORE you end up in the middle of it).  There’s a whole lot of judgement out there for the things we do or don’t do… but come on.  At the very least we should be able to count on our fellow Supermoms for support and appreciation.  We all rock pretty freakin hard!

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