23 November 2015

Walt Disney World/ Disney Cruise Vacation Part 1!

Did you ever read The Baby Sitter's Club growing up? I did. (I still do...) One of my favorites was the very first Super Special. (You know the ones I'm talking about. They were twice as long as the regular books and twice as expensive) "Baby Sitters On Board!"
The premise is that the Mr Pike won an all inclusive cruise to the Bahamas and 3 days at Walt Disney World at work. (Can you imagine the heart attack someone at the company had when they realized the dude with 8 kids won? I bet they didn't do that contest again.)  So the Pikes invite MaryAnne and Stacey to go with them as mother's helpers. Watson (Kristy's step-father) hears about it and decides he wants to go, too, so he takes Kristy's family and of course decides to take Claudia and Dawn because whatevs. This means they have 22 people going on this trip. I don't even want to imagine the logistics behind that.. 
Ever since reading it, I always wanted to go on a trip just like it. (Many of my bucket list items are from books apparently) But I never really thought it would be possible and that it was an extremely silly. 
Last December, Nate and I were discussing where we wanted to go for vacation in 2015 and decided to book a cruise. I've always been a huge Disney fan so we definitely thought about a Disney Cruise first and foremost. After researching other cruise lines, we decided to go with a 7 Night Caribbean cruise from Port Canaveral on the Disney Fantasy. 
A few weeks after booking, Nate and I had both had a crap day at work. It had been a stressful week and while making dinner one night, I jokingly said we should just extend the vacation by a few days and go to Disney World. I didn't mean it in any serious sense really. More of a "Hey wouldn't that be cool?" but Nate looked at me and said "Sure. Let's do it!" We quickly booked a quick 3 night stay at Disney's Wilderness Lodge and decided to keep it a secret from Samantha.

Mickey Mail makes me happy
Halloween on the High Seas?
Don't mind if I do. 

A couple months later, after another long day, we were texting each other during the day and decided to add in another night at Disney World. We ended up moving to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort in order to try out their Pirate themed rooms. After this, I quickly bought our flights so we wouldn't be tempted to add even more days.. (It was tempting..so tempting) 

MagicBands are the best thing ever

But after weeks of planning it was finally here! Nate started leave a few days before we left, but I still had a full day of work to get ready for the 2 week I would be out. 
I finished around 1.30pm and it was time to finally leave. Said a quick good bye to my co workers, set my out of office and was ready to get the Jeep loaded. 

So much luggage...

Then it was off to surprise Sami! She knew about the cruise, and knew it was a week away, but she hadn't learned about the Walt Disney World portion yet. I had surprised her with a trip to WDW for her 7th Birthday and it was definitely fun to do. Since I was traveling alone that time, I didn't get a chance to record anything. So I made sure to get it this time. 

She's a character..

We were able to make it to Phoenix Sky Harbor International by a quarter to 4. Plenty of time to drop the Jeep off, get to the terminal, through check in and TSA and to our gate in time for our flight into Los Angeles. 

She's becoming a travel pro

We get to our gate and grab a snack. And we wait...and wait. . . 
I finally get a text saying our flight has been delayed by 45 minutes. Sigh
And then delayed again....

And again...

Yep, still here....

Someone, Save us. Why do you hate us, Delta?

Finally, after nearly 3 hours of delays, we finally board our flight into LAX. Did I mention we have a connection that leaves at 10pm? Delta promised we'd probably make it...

Yeah, We didn't. 

We landed in time, however, we were stuck on the runway for 25 minutes because people kept getting up to go to the bathroom, and there was a child that didn't want to sit down and was wandering around the aisle. The parent was completely oblivious and didn't seem to care when the flight attendants asked him to keep her seated. 

However, it didn't actually matter as Delta has rebooked us on a different flight before we had even left Phoenix. (But forgot to mention it to us when we called...Go. Delta.) 

After some very unhelpful assistance from the Delta gate agents, I was able to get through on the hotline where I found out that they had rebooked us on a flight arriving six hours later than we had originally planned and rerouting us from LAX to Minneapolis/St Paul and then in to Orlando. (Our original flight was PHX-LAX-MCO) Our new flights would leave about 2 hours later after midnight. 

Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. We got Sami down on the floor in her blanket to nap until our flight while I tried to relax. (The customer service we received at LAX was abysmal and extremely unhelpful.) I ended up half carrying Sami on to the airplane because she was out like a light. Considering she's only a few inches shorter than me, it was quite the sight. I see you staring at us Guy Across the Aisle..

Flying over Los Angeles. Hi Jason!
Sleepy Sami...

We got to Minneapolis at sunrise, I grabbed breakfast and coffee for everyone, and waited for what would end up being yet another delay. (Although this one not nearly as bad as out of Phoenix)

Don't tempt me...It's 5 am but I could go for it...

Everyone is Happy and the sun is up..We should have been on our way to the resort at this time...

By this time, Nate and I were a bit punchy and laughing uncontrollably at everything. I'm quite sure people thought we were drunk...The Delta Safety video had us in a fit of giggles. 

The hell, Delta?

We all settled in for the flight in to Orlando. Thankfully, Delta had a great entertainment selection and we were all able to choose different movies to watch during the 3+ hour flight. 

Yeah, you know it. 

We finally land, and it's raining in Orlando. Quite the welcome change from the extreme heat we left in Phoenix. It's close to 11am Florida time by this point, I had been awake for nearly 30 hours had been what felt like all over the United States and was quite ready to crash. But, no rest for the weary. We were meeting our friends; Brandon and Erin and their kids in just a couple of hours and had FastPass reservations to get to. 

Disney's Magical Express is amazing

Stay Tuned for Day 2!  

13 January 2015

Comin' down the world turned over...

"World Turned Over" 
Springdale High School Studio Players
Senior Class Children's Play
Autumn 2000

I've been feeling nostalgic lately. So I scoured the Internet for copies of my high school yearbooks. I was able to locate a blank copy of my Senior year. It came in and I was looking through it with my daughter. I showed her my senior photo, showed her my teachers and was flipping through it when she pointed out this photo. No one was tagged in it. The description was very vague. But Sami noticed me sitting in the lower corner and asked about it. 

My mind drew a blank. I recognized a few of the faces. I recognized the theatre it was taken in. But I didn't remember why I was dressed up, the show or really anything. The title of the play sounded familiar. I knew that the senior class always put on a children's play as part of their graduation requirements for theater. But I couldn't remember why I was in it. I was always a backstage person. Usually working in tech. So I posted the photo to Facebook, and tagged those I could identify. 

My friends, Theresa (seated next to me in the gingham dress)  and Kyndl (dressed in black standing it the back) started posting about it, and the memories slowly started trickling back. 

I was 17 and when this photo was taken, four or five months postpartum and I was in the midst of one of the darkest years of my life.  I was lost and lonely. This was the first time I had to perform around children after placing my baby for adoption. I was terrified. My friend was the one that did the casting and directing. I was desperate to be backstage away for the small children and begged her not to put me on stage. But alas, she cast me as Golidlocks. (Im pretty sure because I was the only curly headed blonde ;) Most definitely not based on my acting skills )

The premise of the show, was the tornado from The Wizard of Oz hits the town and all of the Storybook characters forget their stories and get mixed up in other stories. (I ended up in Little Bo Peep's story) the kids in the audience had to help us get back to our original stories. It truly was a terrifically written story. The children loved it. They truly believed we were our characters. I was asked be several kids if they could touch my curls and if they were real. (They totally were) Their small hands grabbing mine on stage, climbing on my lap after the show and hugging me tight was surreal. 

I leaned on these people so much that year. I would go days without sleep, I lost massive amounts of weight. I stopped eating, I trusted very little. My day started at 7am in a math class I needed to make up for the time I missed the year before when I was too sick to go to class. Math was already a terrible subject for me. But my theater friends were there. Abbie, an underclassman was in my class, she and I had worked on shows together before and she was my sunlight during those dark, cold mornings. And every time I stepped into that 7th period class, Kyndl would be singing, Amanda would smile at me, Sophia Z would always be smiling and cheerful despite her own struggles with finding herself while in a Deep South High school. Theresa would walk in, with an air of grace and peace, filling the air with an electric energy she still carries to this day, and Trey, his long limbs folded while he focused on memorizing his latest piece for tournament. 

Ray, who would drop everything and come over to just sit in his car with me while I struggled with my emotions. Who was my best friend my senior year despite being eons smarter than I will ever be. Ryan, who came over in the middle of the night with a cold Dr Pepper to keep my mind off the bad dreams, Megan, who took me out into the middle of the woods two weeks after giving birth so I could get away from the world. Kyndl who would not think anything of the fact that I was desperate to go with her for lunch, just so I wouldn't be alone. Driving around in her black Tiburon was one of my happiest memories of my senior year. 

There were others, Whose names I've yet to remember This was my family. We were all so young and going through so many different things. But in their own ways, they pulled together to pull me out of my own misery, taking on a subject we were all too young to have to handle. Theater was my escape. The friends I made working on shows and tournaments that year, the responsibilities I was given during the year is the only thing that kept me treading water from stage managing the fall play, to student director of our Miss SHS pageant. 

I cannot express how grateful I was for every single person that year.

 For the rehearsals, for the hours spent in the dark listening for cues. The laughter in the greenroom and the dressing rooms, weeks spent building sets, yelling at each other for missed lines, for late night conversations on the bus during tournaments, pushing each other to perform better, to be the best we could possibly be, for the hugs and the cheers, the roses and the applause. 

To all of my Drama and Forensics family, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 


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08 January 2015

Healthy Eating? What is that? - Day 1

So last month, Nate and I made the decision to start eating less processed foods, more vegetables and less red meat. Ew! Why?? 

Because we're both realizing that the last year has done a number on our diet and our health. Adjusting to Arizona, dealing with reintegration, long work hours and crazy amounts of stress has taken a toll on us. But it definitely isn't too late to alter our path. 

So we decided to start making better food decisions. I have never been a fan of diets. For one, I've never really had a need for it. I usually know to burn more calories than I ingest, but 8-13 hours at a computer has really put a damper on that. Also, Nate makes the best Chicken Fried Steak. 

Soooo good. 

Nate is much more on board with this than I am. 

My biggest obstacle so far is the sheer amount of food. 

Sounds crazy, huh?

I usually eat once a day and graze.There have been days I just forget to eat. This is apparently terrible for your metabolism. So I'm working on making healthier choices and eating balanced meals. 

I've been posting my meals throughout the week in an effort to hold myself accountable. (And hoping a nice filter makes me want the food more?) 

Day 1: 

Nate has started making me drink a daily concoction I have named "Mop Water" it is supposedly only hot water with honey and lots and lots of honey. It smells like mop water. It tastes like...hot water with wayyyy too much lemon. Apparently this is a healthy thing to start your day with. I like to start my day with whining and mumbling when I see him walking into my office. (Feigning sleep at the computer to get out of it has yet to prove successful) 

Breakfast is something I just have never been a big fan of. It seems way to early to be prepping food and eating and digesting. But alas, people say it's important. 

Breakfast: 8:15am

1 Hard-Boiled Egg
1 Medium Banana
Slice Whole Wheat toast with Strawberry Preserves
1 Bottle Odwalla Orange Juice

HOLY HELL! How do people eat this much food before 9am?? This seriously took me over an hour to eat. But I do love the juice. 

When I was boiling the eggs, I thought I'd be smart and boil 5 or 6 at a time for the week. Turned the eggs on, went upstairs to answer a few emails really quick while they cooked. 

1 email turned into 6, 1 chat turned in 50. Whoops. Only 2 eggs exploded. Not bad.

One day I will even learn how to de-shell eggs. Im pretty sure I lost half the egg in the de-shelling process. 

Lunch: 2:00 PM

Time to eat again!?!?!? But I just ate!

Also, I am pretty sure I spent more time in my kitchen this week than I have in the month prior. 

I found this recipe somewhere on Pinterest. I don't remember where it was and I'm pretty sure I didn't even follow it. Because I suck at following recipes. But I tried to write out how to do this below.


3 large eggs (I use Organic, Pasture-Raised eggs. These are slightly expensive, though. So use whatever you want)

1/2 cup-ish Cheddar Cheese cubed

1/2 cup-ish Turkey  I used Boar's Head Oven-Roasted which I diced up..(Actually just sort of whacked repeatedly with a very sharp knife.)

1-2 cups Broccoli 

1 Whole Wheat tortilla 

1/2 tablespoon butter (Use the real stuff if you can. Margarine is the devil's grease) 

1) Heat pan with butter (without burning it! I failed on that part)

2) Mix Turkey, Cheese, Eggs and Broccoli in a bowl.

3) Once pan is heated, toss in mixture and cook until done. Whatever done means to you. I pulled it when the eggs were cooked. The cheese hadn't melted completely which makes me wonder if I should have shredded it for it to melt quicker. But the slight cheese chunks added some interesting texture. 

4) YAY it's cooked! Now toss it in the tortilla, wrap it up and devour. 

Note: I didn't realize until after I cooked it that it was indeed 2 servings. Im not sure how well it would freeze or store. So I wrapped one up and made Nate eat it, despite the fact he had just eaten a tuna sandwich. Before realizing this I was pretty close to crying at the thought of having to eat the huge amount of filling this makes. But yes. This will make 2 servings. You should probably just eat 1 ;)

I was actually quite happy with this. It was extremely filling and very quick to make. Definitely something I'd eat again. Not sure how healthy it is. But it can't be too bad. 

Dinner: 4:00 PM

So this was about the time I realized that the soup I had planned, was totally not going to work. I looked at the cook time wrong, instead of 2 hours, it had to cook for 6-8 

So I made crockpot Macaroni and Cheese instead. It would have been great if I remembered to keep it plugged in....

So that is Day 1. Nothing crazy, I also didnt get a chance to snack because I was way too full from the Breakfast and Lunch. 

Day 2 brings us more eggs and tuna and a soup that I finally got to make! Come back tomorrow for that!

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21 June 2013

Little Ears Around!

Here are some horrible inappropriate songs to kick off your weekend! Don't believe me? Ask a 7 year old to sing them ..

I've never really been one to censor my music. I don't necessarily listen to anything crazy in the first place, so there wouldn't really be much to censor. Or so I thought

Sami and I are not known for our subtlety and are known to bust out into song in the car. Since we live a good distance from the nearest town with a stop light, we're in the car a lot.

Yes, I'm the crazy girl singing and dancing in the car next to you

Until last week. When I for once listened to the lyrics of the songs Sami was singing.

Nothing like your 7 year old singing along to Prince! 

Nothing wrong with that, right? ...right?

Listen closely there....
This is it, it's time for you to go to the wire
You will hit 'cause you got the burnin' desire
It's your time, you got the horn so why don't you blow it? You are fine, you're filthy cute and baby you know it

Cream, get on topCream, you will copCream, don't you stopCream, sha boogie bop

I am a horrible mother...

So I switch the next song. Oh look! Broadway!!! That can't be bad. She can sing Showtunes at school! Right??


                                                             Everyone's a little bit racist


Doesn't mean we go 
Around committing hate crimes.
Look around and you will find
No one's really color blind.
Maybe it's a fact
We all should face
Everyone makes judgments
Based on race.

Oh sweet mother of God. 


Go and fix your make up, girl, it’s just a break up
Run and hide your crazy and start actin’ like a lady
'Cause I raised you better, gotta keep it together
Even when you fall apart
But this ain’t my mama’s broken heart

Wish I could be just a little less dramatic
Like a Kennedy when Camelot went down in flames
Leave it to me to be holdin’ the matches
When the fire trucks show up and there’s nobody else to blame

Can’t get revenge and keep a spotless reputation
Sometimes revenge's just a choice you gotta make
My mama came from a softer generation
Where you get a grip and bite your lip just to save a little face

Well that's not too bad...That's almost cute! That's right, Sami! Rock on! 

then I glance back...

Dear god she has the facial expressions to match.

I should apologize now for any future romantic interest she has. Word of Warning..Just don't break her heart. She may very well break your spine. . 

Ok, maybe I should just turn the radio on. The radio is safe. What crazy stuff can the radio be up to?

Oh Justin Timberlake! Yes. This is safe. 

Dirty babeYou see these shackles? Baby, I'm your slaveI'll let you whip me if I misbehaveIt's just that no one makes me feel this way
Until we get to dance class and she starts singing and dancing. 

Oh myyyyy.
Yep. I give up.

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Come link up! 

10 June 2013

Weekend Shenanigans

Linking up with Sami's Shenanigans today!

Sami's Shenanigans

I enjoy leading a very quiet life. Mostly because I don't like people crowds. And because I live in South Dakota. (Seriously, why is this a state?)

So my weekends are relatively calm. Last week I spent it running around due to dance recitals. But that is extremely rare. 


Guess what I did on Friday!! I worked. As usual. Because I lead a thrilling life, no?

Pretty normal Friday getting ready for a project launch , wrapping up the week and all around kicking ass and taking names, yo. 

And then this tweet comes across my feed: 

And my stomach drops. As my baby brother attends Santa Monica College and the last time he spoke he mentioned finals. . . 

So I do what any normal crazy person does and checked his FB to see if he had updated to say "Yo I'm good!"

Which he hadn't.  (Note to self: Remind brother that he has a million ways to communicate with me that he is in fact not dead and to use them or else he will be. Seriously. We have texting, Skype, FB, Twitter, PHONES, smoke signals the works) 

So I text him. And start looking at flights to LAX because I'm not prone to overreaction or anything like that.

I text my mother and probably shave a good 10 years off her life as I simply say "There was a shooting at Jason's college. I know he had a final on campus today. But I can't get ahold of him. Have you?"

I'm not known to sugar coat things I guess. 

I finally hear back from him and we have a strange interaction about his final. (Because only my brother would be worried about his final when his school is on lockdown because of an alleged shooting spree. Sign of the times or sign of my brother's quirkiness?)

After my heart stops racing and my bank account breathes a sigh of relief. I run to the commissary for groceries. As that's the thing to do on a Friday night in the summer. 


Saturday I woke up with the beginning shadows of a cluster headache. Knowing I will be of no use to anyone once it hits and will in fact be a blubbering mess, I put on clean pajamas, close the blinds, add blankets and pillows to the sofa, stock the table with everything I need and Sami and I curl up for a day on the sofa with Doctor Who and cuddles. 


Sunday I felt much better and decided to get out of the house for a bit. 

I promise I'm not naked.And excuse the lack of make up :S

Sami and I grabbed brunch at Tally's Silverspoon an awesome little restaurant in downtown Rapid City.  Since it was not the usual Hurricane force winds outside, we chose to sit on the sidewalk seating and eat. It was an awesome meal and it's definitely one of my favorite places in Rapid City. 

I also took the time to lament the lack of sun on my shoulders. Irish heritage represent! 

After brunch, we walked around downtown. Well, as much walking around as you can do on a Sunday in a town everything is closed on Sundays. I may dislike a lot about this station, but I do have to admit that downtown Rapid City is gorgeous. Not much architecturally wise has changed in years so it has a very nice retro feel to it. We walked around the streets and Art Alley for a bit before winding up back at  Main Street square. Where I stopped in my favorite local bookstore Mitzi's. 

They didn't have the book I was looking for so I settled on "Revenge wears Prada: The Devil Returns"  by Lauren Weisberger and some new tea. 

We swung by Who's Toy Store which is one of Sami's favorite places in the world (Cause they encourage you to play with everything)

And of course we had fun with the carnival mirrors

OMG I'm tall AND skinny!

One more stop at Dakota Thyme for a French baguette (Cause they cook crack into them, they're that good) and we decide its time to leave. 

Since I was feeling indulgent, we stopped and got Sami an ice cream cone. Cause that's what you do when you're buttering up your 7 year old!

The rest of the afternoon was quiet. Sami worked on her Summer Learning program and played and I curled up in the chair with this

mmmm carbs.
(When I posted this on Twitter, I got a few questions about the red thing. I thought it was self explanatory but it's a tea cup with a lid. The handle is just turned towards the back.)

I finished the book that evening and Sami and I made sandwiches for dinner and watched Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. 

Definitely one of my favorite ways to spend the evening!

How was your weekend? Don't forget to link up with Sami's Shenanigans! 

Stay Tuned! Coming up on the blog (at some point) is my Tampa Florida and Disney World vacation recap!