Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Disney 2017!


We are back, after 4 days spent in the Happiest Place on Earth (at least to some).  We went for C's 3rd birthday -- something he reminded us about on a near-daily basis for the past month, at least -- and really, we had a blast.

There is just something so special and magical about seeing your kids having -- well, just SO. MUCH. FUN.  They were so active and so happy (99% of the time, anyway) and the energy was just effervescent.   


Hotel - we stayed at Art of Animation, a Disney property in the "Value" category.   

* PROS - spacious rooms, great play areas for kids, Fast Passes come with your stay.  

* CONS - somewhat lame food options (big cafeteria that was crowded), not on the monorail or within walking distance, kind of had a college dorm/barracks feel to it, had all of these sculptures that were really climbable (i.e. tempting to the kids) with "no climbing" signs next to them.  Ummm - very annoying for a kid-centric resort!  

I happen to be a bit of a hotel snob so I'm not sure this would be my first pick for next time, but it worked.

HUGE character sculptures at Art of Animation resort

We drove - it's just 3.5 hours from Miami Beach though the way home took more like 4.5.  I think Annabel slept most of that 4.5 hours (!).  They were pretty happy in the car, watching shows and playing some games on the iPad which is a MAJOR novelty for them (literally never allowed in our house and only reserved for plane flights and long road trips). 

sleeping kids + a serious driving face

Family:  We went up as a big group just as we did in 2015.  Josh's parents, his sister/BIL, their kids, and our 2 made up a total of 10.  I am sad I did not get a good group photo this year!!

Our stay:  We did 3 nights:
- Friday 2.17 was travel & Animal Kingdom, with dinner at Boma (highly recommend!)
     Highlights: Mt. Kilimanjaro Safari ride, TriCeraTop Whirl (not terribly exciting but Cameron thought it was amazing), the kids meeting Minnie & Mickey

on safari with C

- Saturday 2.18 was Magic Kingdom
     Highlights: Breakfast at Belle's Castle, Annabel going on Big Thunder Mountain with Josh, Small World (because . . you just have to), Little Mermaid ride, meeting Ariel, the carousel


not exactly sure where this was :)

- Sunday 2.19 was Epcot
     Highlights: Soarin' (virtual-reality type ride where you really feel like you are flying over the world - amazing!!), the play area after the Figment ride, the countries -- including a snack in Norway (DELICIOUS pastries) and dinner at Chefs de France, where Cameron managed to charm some random strangers and we all proceeded to spend the entire meal cracked up over his antics.

- Monday 2.20 we had a character birthday brunch for C (it was his actual bday!) at Ohana 

Cameron was not tall enough for Soarin' or Big Thunder Mountain so . . . next time.  

Lessons learned:

1) Disney TIRES KIDS OUT!  (And adults, which makes sense because we covered an average of ~10 miles on foot per day).  Both kids were passed out 3 out of 3 nights on the way back to the hotel. Major win.  They didn't sleep in, though.


2) The food is just okay (mostly:  exceptions on our trip were Boma and Chefs de France, which we really liked).  But it's okay because a) there's always ice cream! and b) food generally tastes good when everyone is having fun.  The kids ate SOOO much sugar on this trip.  Come to think of it, so did I :) I'm confident we'll all recover.

delicious pastries in "Norway"

frozen Mickeys!

3) The character experiences really are magical.  They do such a nice job, and the excitement in both kids' eyes at meeting these stars in person was just priceless.

C with Belle

Annabel demonstrating a tail-wiggle for Ariel

Can't forget Mickey

4) There will be moments.  Things won't be 100% perfect.  This was a CROWDED weekend and we definitely became frustrated at times that we couldn't go on as many things as we would have liked.  But staying calm & moving on works.  Also snacks can help too.  And the memories are still so sweet.


Don't worry, she recovered. 

 5) Take a day to recover.  STRATEGIC!  I was off from work today and then our nanny even offered to take the kids for the night.  It has been soooo nice to have a day of rest rather than plunging back into work.  I feel rested, happy, and ready to jump back into normal life now, but definitely would not have been this morning.

So that's a wrap!  I think we'll probably be back in 2 years -- that feels like the right interval for us.  It was definitely much easier and more fun with a 3 year old C than a 14 month-old C (last time).

Tuesday, February 14, 2017


I'm feeling a little bit overwhelmed lately.  I know no one can "have it all", but I've always felt like I could have . . . a lot.  Or perhaps enough.  Lately, however, life feels like an endless stream of choices -- choices that I don't particularly want to make.  Read or get enough sleep.  Connect with friends and family or give the kids full attention in the evenings.  Write a blog post or spend time with Josh.  Give this patient lots of time, or spend time researching about another case.  I am constantly asking myself: can I really take the time to focus on this?  Will I be able to get everything done without disappointing anyone (including myself)?  I feel . . .uneasy.

I am on call, so I suppose my emotions may be amplified and my perspective skewed.  It also does not help that the kids have been sleeping less consistently than usual -- not sure what's up with that.  This morning, they were both up at 5:15.  My little slice of contemplation/workout time disappeared and even though I enjoyed doing a V-day treasure hunt with them (family tradition!) I would have appreciated it if we had gotten started a little later.  Like maybe 1.5 or 2 hours later.

I am organized.  I am not distracted by intrusive thoughts about things I may have forgotten.  Everything is laid out for me to see in my planner, and I know what is on my plate.  I outsource (a lot!).  But sometimes it just feels like too much.  I WANT time to read every day, time to meditate, time to eat without rushing (in a social setting, ideally), time to get all of work done in a focused-but-not-harried way, time to work out, time to spend uninterrupted and focused with the kids, and also with Josh.  Sprinkle in time to blog a few times per week (my only creative pursuit!), time with friends, and time to do other misc household chores that aren't outsource-able -- and even though I know 168 hours sounds really like a lot, I guarantee what I'd LIKE to do would fill at least 250.  Every week. 

What can I do?  I'm hanging on.  I decided to grab this little 30 minute window for myself to write this post -- even though I'm on call and I have 39873 charts to do and people to call.  I am planning on coming home late-ish (maybe 7:30?) tonight, so I guess I'm stealing it from A&C.  I am trying (TRYING) to be present in the time I have, not waste time scrolling Instagram -- although to be honest, I am failing at that, because when I do get random bits of time they seem to come in 3 minute unpredictable fragments, and Instagram is particularly delicious in those little snippets (aaaaand then sometimes 3 minutes become 30).  I am also trying to be kind to myself, and not hang onto unrealistic expectations -- like the ones above.

I am not trying to invite pity.  That would be gross!  Like: "OMG, that woman with a great job and family and friends and a hundred different interests and goals -- it's just such a SHAME she can't find time to do them all!".  NO.  I recognize that this whole post comes from a place of privilege.  It's almost like I just want more life.  MORE than the hours I already am so lucky to be living in. There are so many people I'd like to spend more time with, places I'd like to go, things I'd like to do.  And I'm coming to terms with the fact that it's all finite.  That shouldn't be news, but I think it's easy to forget.  

School pix!

V-day treasure hunting

❤️ valentine surprise!




Friday, February 10, 2017

updates and happy weekend


WHEW.  It has been a week.  On the downside, the kids have been sleeping like $(*&@# (both a little sick, including some fun wheezing for C).  On the upside, C has been using the potty like a champ!  Woohoo!!

I am on call and planning on a late-ish night at work, but wanted to take a quick break to check in first.

Random updates:
Running:  I ran a 5K last weekend and placed 3rd in my age group!!  I ran 24:40 or 7:56/mi which is not exactly blazing but I was very happy to be sub-8.  I am definitely getting a little bit faster than I was a few months ago.  I love that about running - seeing/feeling improvements is just so much fun and rewarding.  I know I will have to adjust my expectations as I get older (and older . . .) but I don't think I'll ever tire of picking a goal and going for it.  Also, running endorphins are real.  I am so much happier when I run.

Kids:  I registered A for kindergarten.  KINDERGARTEN.  It was traumatic, honestly.  She will be going to the same (public) elementary school that Josh went to, which is pretty crazy!  Apparently there is a lot of homework.  I am concerned but . . .we'll just have to see how it goes!

Excellent podcasts episodes of late:
We may have to consider an allowance for the kids soon!

Because I love the band Real Estate, and loved them even more after this podcast.

Though this had the side effect of making me feel like I should go vegetarian (for ethical world-saving reasons) even though I actually do not WANT to.  But maybe I could go somewhat veg.

Work:  On call.  Not feeling too stressed out yet.  Maybe this will be the week I find call zen . . .