Thursday, March 29, 2007

Taking This Show on the Road

Tomorrow night, we head down to Charlotte to celebrate Elise's first birthday. When we return, I'll post the pics of both Marcus' first birthday and Elise's first birthday. Two for one!

We bought Athena a pretty pink dress with matching shoes and hat for the party. She's very excited to wear them. It had better be warm out though. It's definitely a warm-weather dress. I have a dressy outfit for Mr. Man, too, but it may be too warm for the weather... so he may be a bit more casual for the festivities.

Apparently, Jason and Bernie's neighborhood is having an Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday. Add that to the one we had last week and the one Aiden's parents are throwing Easter weekend, and we have a total of three hunts. Easter is the new Halloween! Hooray!

On the work front, I'm currently putting together the schedule from Hell. We will be closed and renovating for two+ months, so I volunteered to make the master schedule, assigning folks to cover other libraries and attend as much training as possible, and attend committee meetings, and go on vacation, and work on special projects that we never have time to do when we're open. It's going well. I'm down to two Advil a day. It's been as high as six. I'm confident the Advil factor will rise again next week, when I give out the first true draft to staff to have them check for all the mistakes and problems early next week. Wish me luck.

And send Advil.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Time and Energy Suck

So why haven't I been posting? I love to talk about myself ad nauseum... so it can't be that. I love to talk about my children even more, so it can't be that either. So what is it that keeps me from boring you all to tears with my lackluster writing?

Two words...

Disney Planning.

Now... don't laugh, but I normally am not a huge planner when it comes to The Mouse. I know the parks well enough, and keep up with enough of the news about them, that I usually can just go and enjoy them. I haven't even paid that much attention to crowd calendars (wonderful sites that take lots and lots of scientific data gathered at the parks over years and years, and spit back the best and worst times to visit each park... my favorite is This is because I normally go off season and I travel with other Disney know-it-alls... so we just see what we want to see, and if something has a line that is unreasonable... we skip it. Unless it's REALLY important to us. After all, we've done it before and we'll do it again.

But this year, there are two issues. My kids. There is a third issue as well, which is our "free" trip falls right in the smack dab middle of the chaos of high season, which means bigger crowds and longer lines. These issues are forcing me to research every last detail. To seek out the best way to approach everything. And to make every little moment at Disney seem like a casual, non-rehearsed magical moment. No pressure, right?

I've ordered invitations to be sent out to everyone who will be attending Athena's birthday, and I had them specially printed to look like they were sent from Her Royal Highness, Cinderella herself. I've made a complete packing list AND made a list of everything that needs to be in our diaper bag(s) (both specially purchased for this trip) and our stroller. In making this list, I realize I'll need a different list every day, depending on the plans for the day, so I'm going to work on that next.

I've also been thinking about what the kids will wear (a bright color that will be easy to spot in a huge crowd) and also how to "tag" them in case they get lost. I've had nightmares about them getting lost, too. This actually happens all the time at Disney. Hell, it happens all the time at the library, so it MUST happen all the time at Disney.

Tonight, I even called into a live podcast to ask about getting Marcus' first haircut at the Magic Kingdom. I did this for Athena, as you may remember, but it was a fiasco... as we ended up waiting about an hour and a half in line, with Athena falling asleep five minutes before her turn. I don't want that to happen again, so I called the professionals at WDWtoday and probably sounded like a huge dork. Fortunately, they always take forever to post their live shows, so I'll probably be completely over the humiliation just in time to hear what I actually sounded like and get humiliated all over again. They did give me some tips... so we'll see how it pans out.

To make matters worse, I actually got a reservation for an Illuminations cruise for our second trip only to find out that Illuminations may not be happening. There is no date set yet, but they are going to be taking the "video globe" (the centerpiece of the show) out for refurbishment "sometime this year." There are only five boats that go out for Illuminations, and they book each day in five minutes. These reservations are highly coveted and are also quite expensive. Fortunately, I have until 24 hours before the cruise to cancel, but I GOT THE BOOKING! I hate that I may have to give that up! Argh! So now I'll be continuously watching the boards to see if there will even be a reason to take the damn boat ride. *sigh*

But it's all in the name of fun, right? sheesh.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


We had plans to go to the Hurricanes game tonight with the whole family. We haven't attempted this since last season. I was really looking forward to it. Marcus is at an age when he would probably sleep through it and Athena is starting to actually enjoy being part of a crowd... cheering, etc. We even had Marcus' Super-Crochet Fun-Time hat! He would have been toasty AND stylin'.

However, Marcus had other plans. We joined Aiden and family for a pregame dinner at Olive Garden, and Marcus threw up twice. It wasn't a sick thing as much as a choking thing, but when it happened the third time, I decided he and I were going home. So Daddy and Athena are at the game, and he and I are home. He's sleeping happily.

I noticed when we got home that the water in his sippy cup was really cold, and I've noticed that ice water tends to make his tummy more sensitive... so maybe that's what did it. I thought I had told Chris that, but either I didn't, or he forgot.

Since Athena is old enough to require a seat/ticket, we may not get a chance to go as a family again this season. Very much a bummer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Twelve-Month Checkup

Marcus saw the doctor today for his twelve-month well-baby checkup. I normally let Daddy post about the stats of the doctor visit, but this time I'm going to do it. Nyah!

He got shots... one in each arm, which he handled very well. He cried for a bit, but was easily comforted with his sippy cup of water.

Normally, babies start drinking whole milk once they hit one. We tried with Marcus, but he started spitting up again. He did the same with regular formula way back when, so we have been giving him soy formula. So, no suprise here, the doctor recommended switching to soy milk.

So the numbers:

Weight - 23 lbs., 2 oz. (55%)
Length - 31 3/4 inches (95%)
Head - 18 1/2 inches (70%)

Summary, he's a lean, mean thinking machine! He's not walking yet, but the doctor seemed to think everything was progressing well in that area. And he has most of his teeth, including the molars. The doctor even noticed that the eye teeth (the only ones toward the front that haven't come in yet) are starting to bud.

All in all, a healthy happy baby, despite the shots. Just what a mommy wants to hear. :-)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Surprise Night Off -- Sort Of

Tonight, our daycare sponsored another "Parents' Night Out." We've talked about participating in one of these, but felt really selfish in doing so. After all, they are in daycare ALL WEEK, and then what do we do? We LEAVE them there until 10pm on a FRIDAY so we can be adults for four hours. Guilt, guilt, guilt... Just haven't been able to do it.

Well, this month, the fees they charge (which are reasonable, but still fees) for this service are going straight to the March of Dimes. All for charity. So I was tossing around the idea of trying it next Friday when we have nothing to do. (I'm supposed to be baking Marcus' birthday cake tonight... but I'm not. Hopefully I can get it done in the morning.)

Anyhoo... I go to pick up my little tots, and elder tot doesn't want to leave. I WANNA STAY RIGHT HERE! (Jabbing pointy finger at the ground to accentuate HERE). I asked her repeatedly if she wanted to go home. Nope, I stay. You sure? Stay. Really? Stay. Okay.

So I left.

Granted, I took Marcus with me. He goes to bed at 7pm, and he seemed to actually like the fact that I showed up at the end of the day, so I figured I'd bring him home. Athena stayed at daycare to eat pizza and watch a movie.

Chris and I decided to take advantage of the time by... wait for it... it's not what you think... really... we decided to have a conversation during dinner. Seriously. Conversing at dinner in our house is normally not possible. Either Athena is interjecting/interrupting, or she is doing something that requires one of us to tell her to stop. Constantly.

Marcus, on the other hand, happily crams food into his face and allows us to carry on a real conversation. It is glorious!

So we still may take advantage of this little service next week... only perhaps we'll leave Marcus as well and actually go somewhere and do something fun. After all... it's all for a good cause!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Mouse and Me: A Retrospective

With my two upcoming trips to Walt Disney World, making my total three trips in a 9 month period, I've had several people ask me, "So how many times have you BEEN to Disney anyway?" The honest-to-God answer: I have no idea. So, I thought I'd count them up here, and to prevent you from falling asleep, I'll throw in some interesting, if not entertaining, tidbits about each visit... giving you some insight into my life. Mostly the last fifteen years of my life, but my life, all the same.

April, 1977 - Walt Disney World - I was five, my sister was three (although we were closer to 6 and 4 ... birthdays in June and May respectively). The only park there was Magic Kingdom. Oh, and Sea World. I had been begging to go for YEARS and Grandpa (mom's dad) decided that he wanted to play an amateur golf tournament down there, so he took us all. It was my first time on a plane. He flew us first class. Imagine how bummed I was the NEXT time I flew, and discovered that you didn't get a set of headphones every time you got on a plane. I remember very little about this trip. We stayed at the Polynesian, and I remember the pool. I also remember not being able to ride Space Mountain, and dad coming off the ride scared out of his wits.

August, 1987 – DisneyLand – I had just turned sixteen, and we took a family trip to the west coast. DisneyLand was just one day of a two week vacation that included LA, Las Vegas, The Grand Canyon, and San Francisco. Star Tours was the newest attraction. I didn’t ride it because the lines were three hours long. I may be crazy about Disney, but I’m not crazy.

August, 1992 – DisneyWorld – This trip was to find employment with the Disney Corporation. I had just graduated from Carolina in May. I had interviews… I was even told to find an apartment… and then I didn’t get the job. The funny part? I chose a traveling companion who I met in college. We went to Pleasure Island one night… he fed me LOTS of alcohol, and then he showed me his letter from his parole officer allowing him to cross state lines with me. I made a drunken mental note to choose my traveling companions more carefully in the future. Only had one day to spend in a park, so I spent it at MGM.

August, 1993 – EuroDisney (now DisneyLand Paris) – went with the amateur theater company I sang and danced with. We got to sing and dance in front of the castle. It was cool. This was my first trip to Europe sans parental units. Good times. Due to my outstanding French, there is a man in Paris who believes that I could not accept his kind offer to make love because I was pregnant with another man’s child. All I intended to say was that I had a boyfriend.

August, 1994 – DisneyWorld – trip number two with amateur theater company. I lost my voice in Charleston on the way down, and had to croak my way through performances on the Tommorrowland stange and on the American Pavilion stage. My one chance to sing at the big park, and I blew it. *sigh* This was my first visit to EPCOT.

January, 1997 – DisneyWorld – Mom and I went down to experience the now defunct Disney Institute. We spent a lot of time at EPCOT and we took lots of cooking classes. I also visited my first dueling piano bar… which started an addiction I still am battling today.

February, 1998 – DisneyWorld – Mom and I had so much fun the year before, we made my sister come along. More cooking classes. I really do miss the Disney Institute. Loved it.

November, 1999 – DisneyWorld and Disney Cruise Line – Honeymoon. This was Chris’ first trip. We liked the cruise more than the parks… but that was mainly because of the food, I think.

January, 2000 – DisneyWorld - Until these two upcoming trips, this marked my shortest wait between visits. Seven weeks after the honeymoon ended, I went to Disney with a girlfriend for a business meeting. I got her addicted to dueling pianos as well.

May, 2001 – DisneyWorld – Our first foray into timeshares. Our friends finally made good on their promise to take us to Disney on their timeshare points, starting the ongoing tradition of trading off every two years. This year, it’s their turn. We bought into our timeshare that September, just after 9/11.

February, 2002 – DisneyLand – We took a hockey trip to the west coast to see our ‘Canes play in LA, Anaheim, and San Jose. We used our brand new timeshare to stay at the Grand Californian. My sister flew down to join us and drive back up to the Bay area with us.

November, 2002 – Disney Cruise Lines – for our third anniversary, we thought we’d try the seven-day cruise since we had liked the three-day cruise so much. Turns out we liked the seven-day cruise even better. We swam with dolphins. I kissed one. It was cool.

September, 2003 – DisneyWorld – Our turn to use our points, we stayed at the Boardwalk Villas and did as much adult stuff as we could. Our friends left their 15-month old at home, and I was ten weeks pregnant. We knew our trips to Disney would never be the same.

October, 2004 – DisneyWorld - Athena was five months old, but we had a friend coming to Disney from England, and how often do you get to see your friends from England? So we took her down there and went to SeaWorld and Universal. I spent one afternoon at EPCOT for the food and wine festival, and to ride Mission: Space, which I couldn’t ride the year before due to my gestating.

November, 2005 – Disney Cruise Lines and DisneyWorld – Pregnant once again, we opted to celebrate our sixth anniversary aboard the Disney Magic. By now, I am blogging, so you can read all about it if you look back in the archives. J

September, 2006 – DisneyWorld – My first solo trip!

April 2007 and June 2007 are in the works. So when all is said and done, I will have been to a Disney Park 18 times… 14 to DisneyWorld, 3 Disney Cruises, 2 to DisneyLand, and 1 to EuroDisney (some trips combined, which is why the numbers don’t add up).

Wow. And to think… you just READ all that! Impressive.

Monday, March 12, 2007

All By Myself

I had a very quiet weekend. Chris took the kids up to Virginia to see family, and I had to work, which meant I had to stay home. We looked at going other weekends so I could join the fun, but our next free weekend is about two weeks before our Disney trip, and I will be in exit mode. Not to mention, I'd like to avoid long drives just before that SUPER long drive.

I was looking forward to the peace and quiet. I lived by myself for years before I met Chris and I rather enjoyed living alone. However, apparently I have adjusted to life in home with small children, because when the family left Friday night, I found the place eerie and spooky even. It just didn't seem right.

I thought maybe by Saturday I would have adjusted, but I didn't. In fact, my dreams that night were all horrible, violent nightmares... frequently waking me with horrible shivers and spine-tingly feelings. Not fun.

So I was mighty glad to see everybody on Sunday when I returned home from work. I think I like the full house way better than the empty one. Who woulda thunk it?!

Friday, March 02, 2007

Things Were Going Great! Until...

So it had to start coming down sometime. This year so far has been a complete whirlwind. Let's review, shall we?

  • Chris got his second promotion in almost as many months.
  • Said promotion came with a salary increase that officially puts him at making 50% more than he was this time last year.
  • Thanks to his going full-time regular (rather than contract) our healthcare premiums will drop by about $200 per month.
  • Thanks to Athena being (almost) potty-trained and soooooooooo smart, our daycare costs will go down about $300 per month.
  • Everything is in place for our Disney trip in April.
  • I have just been handed a very nicely wrapped business opportunity that may or may not work out... but if it does, I could be my own boss within six months. If it doesn't, I still have my fantastic job at the library!
  • Chris' company just announced they are paying for everyone in the company (and their families) to go to DisneyWorld for three days in June! WOOT!

And now, here I am at home... planning our second trip to Disney of the year (and my third in a nine month period) and Athena jumped in my lap, causing the laptop I had precariously balanced on the nightstand to tumble to the floor. Chris' laptop. Mine is still down with a nasty virus. Chris' brand new laptop.

So, when he gets home from the hockey game... I suspect he will be disappointed (or worse) to see the large crack in the LCD undercarriage, that has created a nasty black spot on his otherwise lovely display. Does that spread? Please God say it doesn't. Please?!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Walk Like a (Wo)Man, Talk Like a (Wo)Man...

So, Athena is a real person. I know, I know... you are marvelling at how brilliant I am for finally noticing. Well, trim your sails on that, because I didn't actually realize it on my own. Someone had to tell me.

We are two months shy of Athena's third birthday (to be celebrated at DisneyWorld in approximately eight weeks -- WOOT). Yesterday, we got a note from the daycare director. It was the world's nicest note. So nice, in fact, that it made me a little suspicious. I was going to just post it for you, but it's somewhere downstairs, and I'm borrowing Chris' laptop since mine is ill, and I think he wants it back soon.

Anyway, the letter said something about how great Athena is and how they would like to go ahead and move her into the threes' room. This is really good news on several counts. Actually 300 counts to be specific. $300 per month. However, I am a bit nervous about it because Athena hasn't quite mastered the potty... and normally, that is a requirement for movin' on up at the daycare.

So I checked with her teacher this morning, and we discussed the various issues with pressuring a person to use the potty when they don't want to. Basically, her teacher feels that it won't be an issue... but that's not the real point of this post.

The real point is... her teacher said, with great awe and wonder in her voice, "Athena is soooooooo smart. She talks like a real grownup. I can talk to her the same way I talk to my coworker."


I had to let that soak in. See... I know my kid is great. And I've noticed that she is more verbal nowadays. But occasionally, I still talk around her as if she can't understand what I'm saying. I'll tell Chris something about her day, and I won't even give her the chance to talk about it, as I am sort of thinking in my head that she is still six months old and not talking.

But she is talking. And she is understanding. And I really need to stop cursing in front of her. Really. Like now.

And I have to give her the chance to talk too. Chris and I both made a solid effort to let her do the talking tonight at dinner, and it was great. She is very smart and remembers all sorts of random details now. Not only that, but she'll relate those details to us. And she grasps the concept of "tomorrow" too... like "Tomorrow, you will go to school again and see your friends."

Seems like only yesterday she was barfing and burping and pooping. Oh, wait... she still does that. But now she talks too!

Seems silly that I even feel this is important enough to blog about. I guess you need to be here.