Thursday, December 30, 2010

Another year gone by

The end of 2010 is here- and is just me, or does it seem like it still should be about June??? This year has flown by.

When I look back over 2010, there are some things that stand out:

February- SNOW, SNOW, and more SNOW! We had over 70" of snow- much of it at the same time. Luckily, for the second half of this blizzard, I was in sunny (although cold) Florida enjoying the Disney Social Media Moms conference (see my posts on that here, here, and here).

May- We spent a wonderful weekend in New York City.

June- We were busy in June! We went to our first NASCAR race in Pocono and had an amazing experience (check it out here). We then started a two week swing along the West Coast visiting family. Matthew and Mike both had the chance to meet my grandmother who they had never met before. I was especially grateful for this after she had open heart surgery later in the summer that she never recovered from. We spent a couple wonderful days in San Francisco and then Disneyland.

August- We headed to Disney World for 8 wonderful days where we got to meet many of our friends and had a wonderful vacation.

September- We had 20+ people come to our house for a wonderful, relaxing, and fun Labor Day weekend. That weekend holds many great memories!

October- #EpicOctober2010. Need I say more?

December- We took another Disney trip and got to see many of our great friends again. My parents came for a visit over Christmas and we had a great time. Oh, and I won this little contest.

But for me, what stands out the most in 2010 is friendship. I had to say goodbye to some friends, but I gained so many more. I have met so many wonderful people on-line that I am lucky to call my friends. I may not have met these people in person, but that doesn't mean they aren't my friends. We all know that I don't think we have to have met in person to become friends! (see my thoughts on that here!) I thank you all for your friendship.

But, I was truly blessed with several wonderful, special friends. As one of these friends said, these are my pocket friends. These friends don't live near me, but they are always close by my heart. Somehow, we came together and developed a special bond. They are the people that I want to call first when I have good news. And they are the people that I want to call first when I need a shoulder to cry on. They live in my phone, and are never farther apart than a phone call. They are always in my thoughts, and there aren't enough words to truly explain how much they mean to me. I would say thank you to all of you, but it just doesn't seem like enough.

So- as we look forward in 2011, I hope each and everyone of you has a wonderful and magical year. I hope it opens doors that leads you down the path of happiness and contentment.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What a Christmas!

First and foremost, let me wish you all a very Merry Christmas! I hope that you were able to spend the day with your loved ones and had a wonderful and relaxing day.

I've had quite the Christmas day. We were fortunate enough to have my parents here to celebrate with us. We had a very relaxing and wonderful day opening our presents. I got a great Mickey suitcase and a Disney watch. My dad got an iPad, and both my mom and my son got iTouches. We spent the afternoon giving the technologically challenged (meaning my mother) a lesson in using her iTouch. I spent the afternoon relaxing and chatting with friends on Twitter. And then...

About 2:55 this afternoon, I saw a tweet reminding everyone that Denny Hamlin (a NASCAR driver for all you non-NASCAR people) was doing a Christmas contest giveaway. He would be doing a trivia contest, and the winner would get airfare, 3 nights hotel, and spending money to any destination in the continental United States. All you had to do was be the 11th person with the correct answer. The question he posed was this
"Q: If you received every gift in the song "12 days of Christmas" how many presents would you have????"

I quickly tweeted my answer along with the required hashtag #11in11. I waited a few minutes but then had to go back to my Lego building duties with my son. I came back a few minutes later to see that my Twitter timeline had exploded with tweets to me- I had won the contest! I was floored! I was beyond EXCITED! I couldn't believe that I had won!!!!

My husband and I started talking about where we go. We quickly decided we wanted to go to a NASCAR race. Then, we started discussing which one. We talked about Daytona and the Coke 600. But we are in Florida several times and year, and we could drive to Charlotte. We wanted to really make this a special trip and go somewhere we would't go on our own. So we decided to go to the Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis.

Needless to say, this has been a Christmas that I won't forget. Thank you to my family for the great day and all the wonderful gifts. And thank you to Denny Hamlin for his generosity and the amazing contest.

Oh- and the correct answer was 364 presents :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trip report- December 2010

We've been back from WDW for over a week, and somehow with the hustle and bustle of the jumping into the holiday season, I haven't managed to find the time to do a trip report. So, here's a quick one with some high lights (and a few low lights)

  • Renting a car was one the smartest things we did. Once again, the monorail went down (how do you run your car into one of the monorail pillars? Seriously people). It was so nice not to worry about leaving extra time to get to places and waiting for busses and such.
  • Once again, the weather in December was completely unpredictable. We had a few days of wonderful weather, and a few days where it was cool and windy. But, we only had 20 minutes of rain on one day all week, so that was a plus.
  • Breakfast at Whispering Canyon Cafe is an event. Plan on at least 90 minutes to wait for your food and to eat. However, hearing your friends yell inappropriate things to the kids doing pony rides is a great memory!
  • Doing Space Mountain 5 times in one day is enough to make anyone a little dizzy. And same with Everest.
  • I am so glad I didn't take Matthew on his fifth ride of Everest for the day (thank you Cade and Rora!). Someone on the car ahead of them puked- and even though I am a mom and a nurse, I don't do puke.
  • Journey into Imagination makes me want to poke my eyes out. And so does Circle of Life. And so does the Norway movie. All of which we did on the same day. Low point
  • Watching Lights, Motor, Action from VIP seating is AWESOME! Matthew loved that show, and watching his face as Herbie split in two was priceless.
  • The Osbourne Lights are so cool! I never realized it snowed during the show!
  • Dinner at 1900 Park Fare was great- we walked in not knowing quite what to expect and we were pleasantly surprised. Matthew still doesn't know what to make of the face characters- but us adults had fun interacting with them.
  • Breakfast at 'Ohana was a fail. It was the same food as Whispering Canyon, but not as good. And it just seemed very rushed and uncoordinated.
  • Hoop Dee Doo Review is a great show- and the best part is watching Matthew laugh his way through it.
  • It was wonderful seeing so many friends on this trip. Spending time with them at WDW during the holiday season was a memory I will always love!

OK- there was so much more that happened on this trip, but this will have to do for now!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Goodbye to a Friendship

I guess it's really over. After you unfriended me on Facebook and gave me a sneer the other day when we saw each other, I guess our friendship is really over.

So how did we get to this point? I know it was a little rocky over the past year, but I hadn't realized the depth of your utter dislike for me. What went wrong?

When you sat in my living room this spring and told me that you valued our friendship, I believed you. When you said you were happy for me finding new interests (social media). But was that true? Or is that you just can't adjust to the fact that my family isn't as dependent on your as we once were?

My little family of 3 is becoming content with who we are and learning to do things on our own. But I can never express to you what you and your family meant to us those first few years we moved here. And I had never really had a friend to go shopping with, to go to lunch with, and just to sit and have talk to. And our husbands enjoyed each others company too. And our kids played so nicely together.

But no more.

Is it because I have new friends? Yes, most of my new friends are "Disney people". But that doesn't mean they aren't snarky and snide. They like to yell inappropriate things in restaurants, make fun of each, and *gasp* they don't think Disney is perfect. You would have liked them. And my being friends with them doesn't mean I couldn't be your friend too.

And you know what else hurts- and yes, this all hurts... That you have taken other friends with you. We used to be a happy group, but now, I never hear from the others. I guess when one person has such close contact to them and one doesn't, it's bound to happen. I'm sure there have been things said about me that are less than flattering. It's apparent that you're mad.

I still held out hope for our friendship. After your vacation, I asked you how it was. When we got home from our trip and got no such note, it hurt. When I got no "Happy Birthday" from you, it hurt again. You knew my grandmother was having open heart surgery- but you never asked once how it went. But then I discovered you had unfriended me on Facebook... I guess that was when I knew it was really over.

So, what I ever I did to make you so mad at me, I'm sorry. And I also just want to thank you for being a friend to me and my family for several years- I have many good memories of that time together. But, I guess it's over.

And so this is goodbye...

Friday, December 3, 2010

We've come so far!

As I was watching my son at his pre-team swim practice last night, it struck me (again) just how far his swimming has come.

Matthew has always loved water and loved to swim, but swim lessons were a different story. He didn't like being with a group of kids and spending a lot of time waiting. And honestly, the instructors at the Y where he was taking swim lessons left a lot to be desired. Many of them were young teenagers, who really had no idea how to teach kids how to swim, or how to deal with kids. Matthew went through more than one class in tears, but kept getting passed up level. He also would refuse to go in deep water with clinging to someone and freaking out. It got so bad that one day he refused to get in the water. Well, at that point, we pulled him out of swim lessons.

Mike and I both grew up around swimming pools in Arizona, and have a firm belief that you need to know how to swim for safety. While Matthew was always safe in the water (never going where he couldn't touch) and was able to swim, he wasn't a strong swimmer and had no stamina. We knew that had to change.

This summer, Matthew made it his goal to pass the wristband test at our Y, which would enable him to go down the waterslides and swim on his own. Passing the test involved swimming 25 meters free-style (with face in water), treading water for 1 minute, and back floating. Well, we knew the only way he would be able to pass this test was by taking more swim lessons, but we were very reluctant to put him back in group lessons. Finally, we decided to place him in private lessons at the Y. After the first half-hour, I knew this was the best money we ever spent. His instructor, Joyce, pushed him, yet didn't frighten him- she was perfect! His swimming was improving, and better yet- he was no longer afraid of the deep water.

One day Matthew decided he wanted to take the swim test. I didn't think he was ready, but hey- this kid has surprised me more than once- so I let him. I have never seen him work so hard for anything. It was the slowest, ugliest 25m swim ever- there were times I knew he wanted to give, but he never did. And treading water- well, let's just say it's a good thing it wasn't for 61 seconds... So he passed the swim test and continued to do well.

In September, we decided to change the Y location where he was taking lessons- and after talking to the coach, we decided to put him on a pre-swim team. This is a team for kids ages 5-8 (although at almost 7 he is one of the youngest) who aren't quite ready for competition, but ready for more intense swim practice.

Oh my goodness- what an amazing difference! The coaches are all so good with the kids. Some are very fun loving and relaxed, while others are stricter, but you can tell they all love working with the kids. And they push the kids- I would have never thought Matthew could swim for an hour straight, but he does, twice a week! And his skill have taken off- I watched him swim freestyle relays last night, and was amazed. His freestyle is FAST- and he has great strokes, and rotary breathing. And his backstroke is pretty good too (when he goes straight...) Now, they are working with him on his breaststroke and butterfly- but for now, when he does fly, he looks like a worm dangling on a hook.

Watching him yesterday, I would have never believed that this is the same kid that 6 months ago cried about getting in 5 feet of water. He has come so far, and I am so proud of him!