Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Coping with the Mommarazzi.

The Mommarazzi approaches the subject, having been tipped off to his whereabouts by the sound of blocks being banged together.

Coping with the Mommarazzi, 1.


Coping with the Mommarazzi, 2.


"Whoa, hey..." He gets up and toddles over to the Mommarazzi to investigate the situation.

Coping with the Mommarazzi, 3.


"Dude, that flash is a bit bright, ya know? You've already gotten your photos, could we maybe lay off a bit so I can go back to my blocks? Or you could feed me. That's always an option."

Coping with the Mommarazzi, 4.


"All right, that's it. Your camera is mine."

Coping with the Mommarazzi, 5.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Disney Disney Disney DISNEY!

Miss the first post? Click here to catch up.

Our day at Disney began with me losing the tickets. I start wracking my brains for where it could have gone and cursed myself for putting them in my back pocket. Amateur move, I know better. While I was panicking and seeing my visions of George standing in front of the castle fade away, El Hub kept calm and found the tickets in my shirt.

Apparently I cannot feel paper against my skin. Or maybe it was the panicking. Let's keep it real, it was probably the panicking. But DISNEY!

First visit button.

Mickey's got a nametag.
I have three or four of those nametags in my closet. Ah, the good old Cast Member days.

On Main Street: Me, George, Rob and Cinderella's Castle.

Our first stop was straight to the Baby Center. I knew the Baby Centers existed, but had never been in one and had no idea how awesome they are for parents and their kiddos. They have decked out diaper-changing rooms, a quiet nursing/bottlefeeding room, a little kitchen, and baby basics like formula, bottles, purees, diapers, and products along those lines for sale. But we went there to take advantage of the room with high chairs so George could chow down on breakfast. He even got to watch a Disney movie while he ate. I think he was thinking this place is better than home.

Magic Kingdom Baby Center.
Even the bananas taste better at Disney.

Then it was time for my top priority of the day, our photos in front of Cinderella's Castle.

Me, George, Rob and Cinderella's Castle.

Me, George and Cinderella's Castle.

Next we walked on over to Tomorrowland for a few rides, including my favorite Magic Kingdom ride that happens to be George-friendly: the Peoplemover.


Rob's Disney face.
Handsome El Hub on the Peoplemover. Disney is very serious business for him.

Buzz Lightyear.
To infinity, and beyond!

It was George's naptime at this point, and we began keeping a closer eye on him. We headed to a nearby quick-service restaurant for lunch, and the manager came to see us personally to help us find something that George could safely eat due to his allergies. Again, huge fan of Disney customer service and concern for the health and safety of their guest. DISNEY!

A tip to anyone bringing a toddler to the parks is to bring a couple toys from home. The fan accidentally doubled as a toy, but the cat George picked out before we left the house. That cat saved a bit of our sanity in the line for Dumbo, when George was truly beginning to suffer from lack of nap.

A fan? For me?

Cat toy from home.

Curl boy waiting for the Dumbo ride.

Dumbo's flying.

Dumbo ride.

Rob and George getting into Dumbo's ride.

George's Dumbo face.
George's Dumbo ride face, aka OMG GUYS I REALLY NEED A NAP.

After that, we wanted to take a chance that George would maybe possibly consider deigning to sleep in his stroller. He hasn't done that since he was a few months old. But after being awake for nearly seven hours straight, George was in need of sleep. We decided to let him loose to burn off some walking energy before trying for a nap in the stroller. Spoiler alert: this strategy worked.

George pointing at the Indy car ride.

George in his Mickey shirt, 1.

George in his Mickey shirt, 2.

Happy George.

Passed out in the stroller.

During this time, I sneaked on over to the Haunted Mansion to see all the changes from the past few years. The change to the Hitchhiking Ghosts? Awesome. I just about lost my head laughing. Wink, wink.

When George woke up, we made our way over to the 3 o' clock parade.

Neither did I, actually. Why did the dancers look like time travelers from the 70's? Sorry Disney. Still love you. Mwah!
When is the three o' clock parade?

Cinderella's Castle.

Cinderella's Castle from below.

Mickey Mouse topiary in front of Cinderella's Castle.

Friends recommended the teacup ride as being amusing for kids George's age. This was less of a DISNEY! and more of an urrggh. Anyone who knows me enough to have traveled with me, even on just a short car ride, knows that I am prone to motion sickness. Going on the teacups with my family was an act of love. And nausea.

Tea cups.

George's tea cup ride face.

Our undocumented adventures included the Enchanted Tiki Room (which worked out fabulously because George is fascinated with birds lately, but unfortunately probably now wonders if any of them will break into song), the carousel, a ride for me on Space Mountain while El Hub let George burn off some running energy on a quiet walkway (thanks, El Hub!), and a walk through the future Storybook area. When we go back, I would like to do It's a Small World, the Carousel of Progress, the Jungle Cruise, and take photos of George with Mickey Mouse. Someday. DISNEY!

But there was one more thing we got to cross of my list...

George running from his daddy.

George, Mickey ears, and the castle.

Curls under that Mickey Mouse cap.

George in his Mickey ears.

My favorite of George in his Mickey ears.

My second favorite of George in his Mickey ears.

So there you have it. Our family's magical day at Disney. Sometimes, when we have long-standing high hopes for a moment, it can be so easy to feel disappointed if things don't go perfectly. I wasn't looking for perfect this day. Let's be real, George didn't even know where he was in the slightest. But he had fun. I had fun. I think even El Hub had a few moments of Disney magic. It was a wonderful day for which I will always be grateful. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for instilling this love of Disney in me. It's brought me a lot of joy over the years.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Why I love Disney.

I am not going to be able to do service to what I am about to write.

To say that Disney was a huge part of my childhood almost seems like an understatement. I grew up a few hours away from the parks, and my parents prioritized so that we could have season passes most years. While I am sure they did this in part because they knew it brought me joy, I hope that they also did it for themselves. My dad had severe strokes before I was born, and for the most part as a young child, I was pretty unaware of his differences from other people. It's only now that I'm older that I can better imagine what life was like for them at times.

Me and my dad at the Magic Kingdom a couple decades ago.
Dad and me at the Magic Kingdom a couple of decades ago.

But it was at Disney that my dad could truly be like everything else. He could move quickly thanks to the scooters they rented out, he could access the rides, he could get to where he needed to go in their restaurants. Disney gave us a gift that no one else ever could, and I will eternally be grateful to them for giving me a playground that I could play with my family at.

Plus, it doesn't hurt that Disney is just awesome and I love it. The parks, the movies, the characters, the music. I loved it all as a child. I loved it enough as an adult to join the College Program. I loved it enough to stay on afterward and work for several more years as I made my way through university and graduate school. I loved it enough that an undercover group of reporters wrote very nice things about me in the Orlando Sentinel. (I didn't love it enough to limit my dating to other Disney fans, so poor anti-Disney El Hub tolerates it for my sake. Oops. Sorry, honey. I also didn't love it enough to prioritize for buying my own pass after leaving my Cast Member days behind. Sorry Disney, you are expensive.) I loved it enough that I knew from a very young age that if I was lucky enough, I wanted to be able to introduce a child of mine to Disney. And now I have had the opportunity, thanks to a wonderful friend.

Going to Disney is not like it once was in my carefree baby-free days. El Hub and I psyched ourselves up for it the night before, packed what we could, and steeled ourselves for not knowing how our crib-loving two-naps-a-day kiddo was going to handle the outing. We loaded up everything first thing in the morning, and that was when it hit me. DISNEY! That is what I randomly exclaimed in El Hub's ear several times during the car ride to the Magic Kingdom. DISNEY! DISNEY DISNEY! Don't you want to ride in a car with me on the way to the parks? It's a real auditory experience.

The Magic Kingdom takes an extra bit of psyching yourself up. There's the parking, then there's the walking to the monorail or ferry, then there's the actual ride to the park, and then you get to enter the magical destination. And what happened right when we got to the ticket gate?

I couldn't find the tickets.

Yes, really.

To be continued. Spoiler alert: this story has a magical ending. Here's a sneak peek.


Mickey Mouse topiary in front of Cinderella's Castle.

My second favorite of George in his Mickey ears.

Edit: Click here to see the follow-up to this post!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Our Mother's Day.

Did you know Mother's Day is one of the busiest restaurant days of the year? It makes sense, mothers don't want to clean the house and cook in the kitchen on a day when we would prefer to relax. But going to a restaurant, waiting for a table, waiting for service, waiting for food... Spending the day waiting doesn't seem very relaxing either. (Confession: I totally own to prodding El Hub to make reservations somewhere, but when that didn't happen, we went with this plan B. He's a lucky man.)

And luck was on our side. My mom suggested a picnic, and the weather threatened storms enough to cool off the Florida heat but never actually rained on us. The park was beautiful, and we were able to snag a picnic table. The overcast sky even provided ideal conditions for midday photos. Perfection.

George and his Nana on Mother's Day.
George walking is a delightful novelty to his Nana. I was like, check ya later, I'll take your photo while my butt stays planted on the bench.

Mother's Day picnic.
George still throws a lot of his food, so we made sure to put him far away from us. Or maaaaaaaybe the straps to his booster wouldn't work on a bench and this was the safest alternative. Definitely one of those two options.

The lake at Cypress Grove Park.
Cypress Grove Park is one of the prettiest parks I have ever had the joy of seeing.

The matriarchs of our families.
The matriarchs of our families.

My mom and me on Mother's Day.
My momma.

The lake at Cypress Grove Park.
Did I mention this place is beautiful? It is. Fact.

Throwing George in the air.
George skipped his morning nap today (WHY GEORGE WHY) so by the end of our lunch, he was beginning to lose his tumultuous toddler mind. Clearly, throwing him in the air was the answer.

Three generations.
And then we tried to wrangle a few more photos out of this overtired baby. He hammed it up at first.

George and his Mammaw on Mother's Day.
You think he's staring lovingly at his Mammaw, right? Perhaps. Or perhaps he's a nanosecond away from reaching out and snatching those glasses off her face. It could be both.

George and his momma.Thanks, Mom, for standing next to El Hub as he took this photo and making hilarious distracting noises to perk George up and make him happy for one final photo. Love you, Mom.

All in all, a lovely Mother's Day. Here's hoping next year's is just as awesome (except maybe with more napping).