Disney Part II - Making Memories

May 17th, 2008

“Fun fact: The Coronado Springs is an Animal Kingdom resort. Animal Kingdom is the largest park by far. The entire Magic Kingdom can fit on the land used for the safari. The entire California Disneyland can fit on the Florida Magic Kingdom parking lot!” ~Awesome Co-Worker

While we were in Disney I received text messages like the one above from one of my co-workers who is the biggest Disney enthusiast I’ve ever met. It was like having our own personal tour guide. He gave us lots of great facts about Magic and Animal Kingdom. In fact he and I talked about Disney every single day before we left. Those talks had me so psyched for the trip!

On our third day in Disney I thought I was going to spend the entire day in bed but after a full night of sleep I woke up full of energy so we headed to Magic Kingdom. Surprisingly I had so much energy that I made it from 9:00 AM until 6:30 PM before I was ready to collapse. I haven’t had that much energy in a long time.

I was delighted by several things at Magic Kingdom…Cam went on Splash and Thunder Mountain, It’s A Small World was open (because it was closed four years ago and you can never hear “It’s a Small World” in enough languages) and I found the place that sells the Dole Whip Float.

If you’ve been to Magic Kingdom, love pineapple as much as I do and have missed the Dole Whip Float then I feel sorry for you. Pineapple soft-serve ice cream on top of pineapple juice…dear God it’s damn good stuff.

One of my favorite things about Magic Kingdom was the picture at Splash Mountain of the four of us. The looks on our faces are priceless…and will go in our scrapbook. Normally I’m not a sucker for those pictures but this picture was perfect.

We spent Day 4 and 5 in Animal Kingdom because it’s so big.

While we were at Animal Kingdom on Day 4 I received an e-mail from the president of the university I attended that made me cry as we were getting ready to ride the Dinosaur ride. She wanted to let me know that they are having a walk-a-thon to raise money in order to help me with medical expenses.

It was so hot at Animal Kingdom that we made it an early day and had lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe, then we went back to the resort to swim in the pool.

On Day 5 my cousin, Cousin L, and her friend Mark met us at Animal Kingdom. Cousin L works at Disney seasonally and Mark is from Scotland, working at Disney for one year as part of his college studies. Mark was delightfully charming and we wanted to adopt him. Of course we love Cousin L as well.

It was fantastic having our own personal tour guides through Animal Kingdom because we learned so much about Disney and the park itself!

I also found the courage to go on Expedition Everest. Oh my God…I loved it. I loved it so much I got right back in line to go on it again. Now I love roller coasters so much that I’m ready to find some crazy-scary roller coasters to ride. In fact, Expedition Everest really isn’t crazy-scary at all but it’s awesome.

On our final day in Florida it was Mother’s Day. Miss Britt was kind enough to invite us to her house…which is just gorgeous. So we rented an SUV and headed up the highway. Then all of us headed to beach. I had to follow Miss Britt from her house to the beach and let me tell you…she drives like a crazy maniac just like me.

The beach was awesome and not like the Jersey shore we are used to where it’s dirty. There was a manatee hovering the coast so Dude and the kids were out in the ocean with it while Miss Britt and I chatted about motherhood, careers and life. Dude said the manatee came right up to him and rubbed against his legs. Miss Britt made all of us lunch on the beach and the kids tried to dig their way to China. It was a really great Mother’s Day and a nice way to wind down our trip to Disney.

Besides, I love Britt…she’s as genuine, real and down to earth as can be AND a great mom!

Since we’ve been back from Disney I’ve noticed that Dude, Cam, Teenie and I are a lot closer. The communication between us is so much better. The girls seem to feel more secure about my determination to fight cancer again. There is laughter in our home and less anxiety which is something we haven’t had in a long, long time. Not that we didn’t laugh but it’s different…it’s a much more relaxed feeling.

We came home after spending seven days together and we still like each other. The girls will always have those happy memories to hold on to no matter what happens.

Of course none of this would have been possible if it weren’t for you. On behalf of my family…thank you for allowing us the chance to make memories that will last a lifetime…

Disney - Part I

May 14th, 2008

If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started with a dream and a mouse. ~Walt Disney

Ah, finally some peace and quiet to reflect on seven days with my three favorite people in the entire world: Cam, Teenie and Dude. I learned so much about all three of them on this trip. What I learned from them was far more valuable. Now that we are home I see how much closer we are which is priceless.

The trip started out sort of rocky as some of you may have seen if you were following me on Twitter. You see, I had set such high expectations that we were going to have a fantastic time, happy time, wonderful time while smiling and laughing if it killed us for seven days. There would be no arguing, no tears, no meltdowns. Everyone would act like perfect little fairy angels and Tinkerbell would sprinkle us with pixie dust if necessary.

This was my dream trip, right?

What usually happens when you set such unrealistic, high expectations for everyone around you? Usually you are let down. Our family learned this the hard way on the Rock N’ Roller Coaster. That’s right, Aerosmith almost took the Clusterfook family down on Day One of Disney with their roller coaster in Hollywood Studios.

Dude insisted that all four of us, Teenie the eight yr. old included, go on the roller coaster that goes from zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds. When you mention those statistics to an eight and 11 year old tweens who are safety obsessed, no thanks to their OCD mother, they tend to be gun shy about going zero to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds.

The girls refused to go on the roller coaster and Dude had a nuclear meltdown that made him walk out of Hollywood Studios. I was flabbergasted that my relaxed, chilled-out Dude had a meltdown over a roller coaster. It wasn’t about the roller coaster though. The girls and I sat by the Rock N’ Roller Coaster for about an hour and waited for him. When he finally returned he told us that he was disappointed because he had these expectations that all of us would go on every ride together.

Those unrealistic, high expectations…let him down.

Once we worked it all out it was 3:00 PM and 92 degrees so we called it a day and went back to the resort.

The resort. Oh my God, it was gorgeous, tranquil and serene and yes, we were at a Disney Resort. We stayed at the Coronado Springs. I chose the Coronado Springs for a few reasons. It has a lobby that looks the lobby of the resort Dude and I stayed at when we went to Cancun.

The resort also has a Spanish and Ancient Mexico theme so I wanted to recapture some of that for us and to give the girls a feel for what our resort looked like in Cancun. Although Dude and I needed time together to celebrate our 10th wedding anniversary they felt left out…I thought the Coronado Springs would be a nice touch.

Plus the pool has a really cool water slide that they spent two hours at a time on.

At EPCOT I displayed my excellent parenting skills when Cam repeated “I’m hungry” 20 times. “I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I’m hungry, I’m hungry…”

Cam, I’ve acknowledged your hunger. Please stop repeating it. I get it. I’m not purposely starving you. If you repeat it one more time I will make you eat fish in Norway.”

Now, I’m not exactly sure why fish in Norway would be some kind of punishment but I really thought it would make the “I’m hungry, I’m hungry,” stop. Unfortunately the only way to stop a truly starving child in EPCOT is to stop at a pastry shop in France and feed her chocolate cake for dinner. I am now the epitome of good parenting. Sign me up for Parents Magazine.

Just kidding on the Parents Magazine. I’m over that bullshit piece of fluff. Want to know what real parenting is about, just ask…I’ll tell you all about it.

Anyway, while Cam and Dude had the cake, Teenie had chocolate mousse. I had creme brulee. I believe by the time we entered Japan the sugar coma set in. I remember seeing a lot of Hello Kitty stuff and wanting sushi. We were really tired and hot so we found a spot in Germany to watch Illuminations: Reflections of Earth…Fireworks. The fireworks were cool.

So by the end of Day Two in Disney my body felt like it was going to shut down on me. I was so exhausted that I went to bed thinking that I wouldn’t get out of bed for Day Three and the rest of my family would have to go to Magic Kingdom without me.

And now I need to get to bed and get some rest…so more about the trip in my next post…

Picture: “Hannah Monteenie” - Teenie with Pal Mickey, in her Hannah Montana tank top and hat waiting for the bus.

Gone To Disney!

May 5th, 2008

Look for updates through Twitter on the sidebar and pictures on Flickr.

Thank you for making this dream trip possible!


I’m Game, Are You?

April 28th, 2008

I’ve spent the last 24 hours on the couch because I’m sick. Either I ate some bad sushi, I have a bad sinus infection or I completely over did the wall papering. Based on my luck I’ll go with all three for $500, Alex.

So, I spent the day contemplating what I really wanted to write about. I’m completely twisted about Miley Cyrus and the news about her pictures in Vanity Fair, as well as the ones I saw on the Internet. Especially since I’m busting my sick-cancer-ass to give my eight year old a Hannah Montanna bedroom. Miley was my last hope and damn if she didn’t let me down.

Yet she’s embarrassed? Miley Cyrus shouldn’t just apologize to her very, very young fan base but also to the parents who are shelling out the bucks to support her billionaire butt. Where the hell does she think her fans are getting the money??? Just saying.

Then I thought about discussing food rationing and my urge to by rice by the 20 pound bag just because Sam’s Club is putting limits on it. Dude and I got into a screaming match over what foods to buy, what to stock up on and what crap to stop buying. A delightful time to be had at our homestead for sure.

The truth is my brain has already left the building and has gone to Disney. My body, on the other hand isn’t sure if it’s going to make it. I’ll be dragging it along for the ride whether it likes it or not…

I realize that there are a lot of new readers here at Clusterfook so I thought I’d open the comments up to your questions because I’ve been blogging since August 2005, however much of the history of this blog is gone. So feel free to rummage around the posts that are here including the pages listed on the left sidebar and ask me whatever you want to know…no matter what it is! I will answer all your questions by Wednesday’s post.

I’m game, are you?

From Disney to China in 270 Seconds

April 22nd, 2008

I’ve been flying high on the “Disney Vacation” buzz for the past week with lots of false energy. Now the fatigue, lack of energy and crawl-to-the-bed tiredness is back. Something has to give and I think I really need to evaluate every thing I’m doing like sleep, nutrition and activities. I truly don’t want to bore you with the way my body has gone south like an 80 year old woman.

I really want to tell you how you rock. The Disney raffle ended at midnight on Sunday and Miss Ann has announced the winners. The total amount raised was $4864.87! That’s enough to completely cover our trip. Cam and Teenie are going to have the time of their lives if I have to take 10,000% of the RDA of Vitamins B6 and B12 each day!

Thank you…from the bottom of my heart.

And thank you to those people who have been donating directly to me.

A special thank you to Karen at Karen Sugarpants for sending me this exquisite gift. I’m starting to love the mailman, I’m telling ya! (Click on picture to see it up close)


She found this great necklace at Inspired Gemstone Creations and I thank Robin for including such a kind card.

So, you have voted and the results so far are on the classic Minnie ears for the flight to Disney. Oh, you think I’m kidding? I most certainly plan on wearing ears in the car on the way to the airport, in the airport and on the plane. If anyone says one word to me, just one word…and just dare them to look at me funny.

It also looks like the vote is leaning towards the longer length wig. It should be fun at the consultation on Saturday.

One last thing before I crash to the ground. In yesterday’s post I mentioned that my child “hated” China and someone mentioned in the comments that a little tolerance would be nice so I felt that I should clarify a few things…even though I did this in the comments.

I’m a responsible parent and I’m not about to defend myself as a parent to the internet because it’s not necessary. “Hate” is a very strong word and a very strong emotion. I believe I mentioned that in yesterday’s post and to my daughter, however the discussion with Teenie was in much more depth. I teach my children about tolerance, patience and understanding for all people. I teach them about diversity because that is exactly how I was raised by my mother.

Teenie is eight years old and gifted. I have an IEP from the school district to accommodate her learning needs because she’s more intelligent than the grand majority of her peers. I don’t say that to impress you or to brag about my child. I mention it because she understands a hell of a lot more than most eight year olds understand about the world so having a conversation about China, the environment, how products are manufactured, the conditions people work under and what’s in those products is something she can understand…on her level.

In frustration Teenie wants to boycott all products made in China not by my suggestion but by her own accord. It’s a very difficult thing to do which makes her more frustrated. Especially when she wants a new pair of Hannah Montana sunglasses…Made In China.

At no point am I teaching either child that Chinese people are bad people. In fact I’ve tried to explain that the Chinese people live under the rule of Communism and many times have their voices and opinions oppressed by the government. I did my senior project for my undergraduate degree on the very subject last October.

In teaching them the truth about the world they have a better understanding about how lucky they are to live in the United States and in my house where I allow them to have choices. Hey, I have to get my parenting angle in somewhere you know.

So, if in the discussion with my children I have taught them some kind of intolerance for people who are different or intolerance for different cultures then I’ve completely missed the mark. Report me to the DHS or something because quite frankly I think I’ve got it right…much more so than most parents or we would not have so much hatred in this world.

(Getting off the mommy blogger soap box now.)

Now, can we all go back to the gooey love-fest we were feeling when we started this post? After all, it is you who restored my faith in humanity, kindness and giving…