Happiest Place on Earth

Where is my teleportation device? Don’t you think by now you should easily be able to step on a disc in your living room and reappear anywhere in the world you want? It would definitely help solve my dilemma of living so far away from my brother and brother-in-law. Our trip to Disney World highlighted how awesome it is to be together in one place at one time. When Boston, California, and Southern Florida all descended on Disney for three days, it was overwhelming, chaotic, busy, but awesome and I want to hop on to my teleporter and do that again and again and again.

Seeing the kiddos together was by far the best part of our ten crazy days away from home. It took no time at all for Henry and Owen to become totally transfixed by their cousins! From nonstop cuddling to laughs and playful imaginations, the trip felt like a total success watching the littles together. Disney with everyone was intense and my feet ache still from walking over 45,000 steps in three days, but it was so so so sweet seeing the magic in their eyes and watching them bond together over their sweet playfulness.

But, I promise this won’t be a total mushy post about love and family (you know my constant emotional go-to). Instead, I was thinking of sharing some insights into doing Disney with little kids and weird observations from inside the park. Like, did you know if you were planning to go on any of the Avatar rides you might as well start training your dog to do your calculus homework? Seriously, unless you fastpass that thing 6 months in advance we saw wait times upwards of 295 minutes! Who is able to stand that long in line? Well, maybe a parent who needs a break, but otherwise I don’t know if any ride is “worth” a five hour long line. Or maybe I am only saying this because I did not experience the ride. Before heading to Disney get your elbows sharpened or practice your “New Yorker wide stance”. The park was so full of visitors for the holidays and everyone is so distracted by their companions and looking all over the place to take in the sights  that is it treacherous to walk. I dare you to walk from one end of the park to the other without getting rammed in the back of the ankles by a stroller or rascal. Drinks on me if you succeed in this mission impossible!

What makes Disney the happiest place on earth?

  1. Open Carry for parents. Yes, after your have withstood your third or fourth tantrum at Epcot head on over to the Bavarian Pavilion for a nice cold adult beverage. It changes your whole experience.
  2. Do NOT eat the frozen chocolate dipped bananas. It looks weird but it also doesn’t taste great. After a few days of eating too much, I thought heck this is “sort of” good for you. But, it was not that tasty so I want to prevent you from wasting $5. Just go all in for the Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar instead.
  3. Pay attention, parents everywhere are surviving and thriving in Disney through an array of false promises to their kiddos and empty threats. Just about every second you hear some parent say, “If you don’t….” or “If you do….” and then throw knowing glances at each other.
  4.  I dare you to leave without a Banshee or two? Yes it might be $65 but when you see a kid or an adult walk by with two or three of these creatures on their shoulders, it is hard to resist their allure. I am not going to lie, it took all of my willpower to walk away from the kiosk as mesmerized as I was!

But all kidding aside, it was a super fun and funny visit. I think every member of the group had a blast and we did SO much thanks to beautifully timed fastpass rides organized by my SIL, Jessie. I had hoped to do a ride in a park depending on the kiddos and by the end of the experience we did so much more than I anticipated: Mission Everest, Kali River Adventure, the Safari ride, Gorilla walk, Tiger walk, Nemo, Frozen, Mexico’s river ride, BuzzLight year, the people mover, the carousel of progress, dumbo, flying dinos, the tea cups, Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Small World, the Seven Dwarfs roller-coaster, Pirates of the Caribbean, the Haunted Mansion, the Speedway, and met up with so many Disney characters too. You know those Disney commercials where the music plays, the family has smiles plastered to their faces, and everything bakes in a warm beautiful yellow light….it was sort of like that. Also vacationing with little kids is just parenting somewhere else.

hi!


It has been almost 8 months of inconsistent blogging. The usual excuses are the culprits. Primarily my lack of sleep and feeling pinched everyday for a free second are the contenders for my stretches of absence. As our family grew so too did the responsibilities and returning to work added on top of the heap more stressors and timing issues. By nightfall once the house was quiet and the papers of students graded, there was little energy left for much. Poor David has been so understanding and often from 8PM-8:30PM when I surrender to sleep, we would lay in bed for some pillow talk and have “our time” as a couple in 30 short minutes. But, at least those minutes were uninterrupted! This season of life is good though, I don’t want to give off the impression that we are not happy. Happiness is definitely a constant in the house and in my heart. It’s just very busy feeling and having a stride or a routine that let’s us balance these busy endeavors has been elusive.  Then we thought how do we make our lives EVEN MORE complicated? Ah yes, let’s buy a new house, sell our house, pack, and move all before Christmas! My sister-in-law called these early months with a new baby the longest shortest time and it truly is. Yes, there are hard days, yes we are all tired, yes we bit off more than we can chew, yes we are all laughing, yes we are all eating, yes we are all screaming, but it is flying by and I wish I could slow it all down and stay inside of this manic experience a little longer. I don’t want it to end even though I crawl into bed completely zapped every night.


With the holidays keying up, I am feeling particularly nostalgic for everything and blogging feels like the right endeavor to make some space for. These little dudes and this little life should be documented more consistently because I know that I will want these stories to read and read and read as our days continue.

happy thanksgiving (from the woods)

As the title suggests, we are deep in the woods of north Florida for said holiday. It was nice to see our family and share a delicious meal. I hope your holidays were well, now it’s time to get back to the family before our flight back north.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

florida vacation

In mid July David and I were able to fly down to Florida to visit with his brother, sister-in-law, and their littles. Each year around the fourth of July we make our trek down for a long weekend of fun and sun. This year we met our newest little nephew only 14 days old. When we arrived a tropical storm was trailing us, promising to keep us indoors during the visit.  Somehow though, it broke up allowing us all to enjoy the outdoors. We had a picnic at the beach at sunset, went to a cookout in a local park to honor the Navy Reserve, took walks around the block, had a massive water balloon fight, and just soaked up as much time together as possible. It is always so hard to leave on Monday.  I wish I could pick up Florida and place it right next to Massachusetts so that we are only a short drive from one another.

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Uncle David meets our newest nephew. They are both rocking the same hairdo.IMG_4329

Just a little beach nap at sunset.

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Setting up our camp site. We packed blankets & fried chicken and sat in the sand between sea turtle nests.

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Nothing beats this view

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Did not done a bathing suit this time, but still had to put my feet in.

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The little guy woke up right before it was time to head home. First visit to the beach at just a few days old not to shabby.

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Our niece and nephew splashing around in the waves. They are fearless, beautiful, little fish.

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A little family portrait?  Gosh do I want us to start a family. Holding little boy really made that desire apparent. Maybe someday…

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While we were there, I was reintroduced to ramen noodles and fell in love with that salty, noodle soup

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Kid races at the cookout. About to launch off for the potato sack race.

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David and his littles

chicago + besties

It had been one year since I last saw my bestie, Kaelin. When I heard that the BlogHer ’13 Conference was in Chicago, I knew it was going to be great to fly in early and spend some much needed time with her before heading into the blogging sessions. And….it was! Laura and I left for Chicago on Tuesday morning and landed in the Windy City. It was like we had just seen Kaelin yesterday. We immediately caught up on life, loves, work, and the everyday. We ate lavishly each day and explored extensively. Kaelin treated us to the best of Chicago and hosted us in her poshly decorated apartment. I was so impressed and had such a good time that it was terribly hard to say goodbye after six days.

There were so many highlights from our Bestie Fest 2013.  We sunburned at the lake, danced on a boat cruise, watched fireworks cascade over the city, took a Segway tour (despite our better judgement), ate multiple desserts per night, drank champagne, listened to free outdoor music, put our feet in a fountain, shopped for random things, laughed, cried, talked all day and night, and just had a smashingly good time.

blogher ’13

I went to Chicago envisioning a certain type of conference experience. As a newbie to blogging, I desperately sought new tips and techniques for enhancing my blog’s look, function, and readership. Days prior to the flight, I read through all of the BlogHer Conference materials, highlighted which sessions I wanted to attend, and looked through the attendee list for bloggers I wanted to meet. The plan, goal and purpose was clear and prepared.

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Once at McCormick Place, however, all of these shifted. Walking through the doors of the convention center, I assumed I was flying solo throughout the sessions. Of course, I would mingle, smile, and small talk, but was I really going to build strong connections? I was skeptical and kept my expectations low and my priorities straight a head of me.  Then I walked into the newbie breakfast. It was immediately obvious that the women at this event were vibrant, intelligent, passionate women who were here in fact to make real connections to similarly competent and confident female bloggers. Excitement overtook my previous desires for skills like: search engine optimization and monetizing your email list. I decided then to go with my gut from session to session. Ending up in completely different places then expected, I had a blast. From Instagram Style, to Girls Coding, to how to use social media tools without being a tool, I got a smattering if blogging ideas and along the way connected with some pretty awesome gals.

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The session that left the largest impression though was Sheryl Sandberg’s interview on Lean In and the LeanIn.org. In the morning prior to my cup of coffee, I rode the escalator up to the main floor of the convention center. Ahead of me was a woman in a crisp white suit jacket. In my hazy brain I thought, “Gosh that woman is quite peppy for this early and dressed immaculately,” as she leaned over to strike up conversations with those around her. As we disembarked the escalator and made our way to Starbucks, I realized that this friendly woman was Sheryl. She listened with great intention to the women around her and seemed genuinely interested in their personal anecdotes. In the later session, she maintained this presence which was captivating. While some find her message contentious, I found it inspiring. As a young female teacher, I am often confronted with gender bias about my career choice and I see this bias playing out in the halls of the school. Sheryl is accurate when she notes that the major corporations and government positions are filled by men. Case in point, Massachusetts recently elected its first female senator, Elizabeth Warren. While women represent an ever growing number of college graduates, women are still confronted with “or” statements.  Do you want to be a successful business executive OR do you want to be a successful mom? “And” statements seem reserved for men. Society and the media do not often question a man’s ability to run a company and be a father. And here, I am reminded of the documentary MissRepresentation which focuses on “how the media’s misrepresentations of women have led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”

Sheryl’s message isn’t that new.  She believes in women and she is proud of where women are and she shed light on real inequalities that exist between the genders.  And, in this post-feminist world, she is merely asking women to reflect on where they are and to ask themselves, “What would you do if you were not afraid?”  It is quite a difficult question. I might answer it in the following ways:

(1) Live a little. Stop being so worried about what other people will think or how something might be perceived and just do it.

(2) Take more risks at work. Speak up about myself more and believe in my potential.

(3) Engage more authentically with those in power and not shy away from the opportunities to do so.

Sheryl noted in her interview that young girls are often described by parents, teachers, friends, etc. as bossy.  When she asked the crowd, “Who here has ever been called bossy as a young girl?” 90% of the audience raised their hands. Instead she said we need to change our language and mindsets.  Those little girls are not aggressive they are demonstrating “strong executive leadership skills.” Bias runs deep and starts early and what is most important is finding your voice, believing in it, and using it.

When I walked into BlogHer ’13 I thought I would get a quick dirty list of to-dos for my blog, but straying from this goal led me to more deeply reflect on what it means to be a woman and to lean in.

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