Saturday, May 23, 2015

Disney Blog Day 5

Day 5 Part 2 Walt Disney World Resort

We arrived at our Wilderness Lodge Resort and found our room ready for us even though we were hours before check-in.  We had chosen a bed with bunks, for my boy and me, and a queen bed, for my parents who were arriving later in the day.  Once we had explored the hotel complex, we decided to have lunch in the fast food joint in our hotel.  The food was better than I expected and the salesperson took the time to explain to me why we should invest in one of their Disney Cups.  {A moment about said Disney Cups:  I don't drink soda anymore and I limit soda for LRHB so I had previously decided that we wouldn't be purchasing these cups.  I changed my mind when I realized that I could give him Powerade and, in the humid Florida weather, realized that would be a good choice for him.  Another factor was that I could get my coffee every morning with this cup and iced tea all day long.  Finally, they had disposable cups that I collected and put in the room.  Each morning I would make a series of trips downstairs and load us up for the day in both empty water bottles and disposable cups.  These are the reasons I purchased the Disney cups and would encourage anyone else to do so as well.}

Since the weather was overcast and rainy, we skipped the pool and boarded the bus for Downtown Disney after lunch.  I know I have mentioned that LRHB is anti-shopping.  However, Downtown Disney has a Lego Store which was the enticement I used to get him to go.  He purchased a Lego set and was entertained by it for the in-between hours (those hours before you leave for the next thing or before bed) for the rest of the trip.  We received notice that my parents were on the way to the resort so we headed back to meet them.  (Ask them about their car service next time you see them! LOL)

We went to the Hoop De Doo Revue for dinner and a show.  This was on mom's bucket list and we all really enjoyed ourselves.  We did the hurry up and rush there (via boat!) to wait and wait.  Since the seating is prearranged, I would encourage you to arrive in time, but not early.  Although there was probably exploring we could have done, not knowing enough about the area, we didn't do any.  We were content, I might mention, to sit and chat about the upcoming days since it was our first time together in three months and we needed a game plan.  The show itself was fun, food was good and LRHB is still laughing about some of the play on words that they included in the show!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Disney Blog Day 5

Debarkation Day

The time has come for us to leave our ship.  We had to put our luggage out the night before.  I thought that they would wait until all of our luggage was outside before they swept it away, however, upon realizing that my pants to wear were still in the bag that I had already placed outside, I found that they gather the bags out as soon as they appear and then deliver it to the underbelly of the ship.  So I dug out the jeans I had worn for pirate night to wear the next day.  

We had to set alarms to drag us from our bed and out the door for breakfast.  Early dinner seating is not a positive on debarkation day as then you have early breakfast seating.  I think it was 6:15.  Following our wonderful breakfast, we gathered our things from the room bidding it farewell and left the ship.  (pause here for sniffing and tear wiping)

The Disney Magical Express whisked us from the port to Disney World.  I caught up on texting and listened to tunes while my boy took a much needed nap.  Now I am going to say something very entitled, so acknowledge that I know it is entitled and recognize that I have given this more than a month of thought and still desire to share this with you:  If you are paying the most to stay in the resort, you should be the first one dropped off.  Seriously, we were the last ones dropped off and we were staying at the most expensive hotel.  It took us an additional thirty minutes (conservative) once on Disney property to reach our resort.  That just doesn't make sense to me.  I know it is snobby, yet, apparently I feel strongly enough about the amount of money I paid to make the comment.

Moving on... Disney Wilderness Lodge is beautiful!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book # 28

The Fudge Cupcake Murder
by Joanne Fluke

It is time to take a break from the bakery murders because I figured out the murder on page 139 of a 271 page book.  I figured out the motivation behind it before my favorite baker also.  I love returning to characters I know and love so I will continue to read these books.  However, if you are a die hard mystery lover, you may tire of this series.  I will miss Hannah and her family during my break, yet it is time to try some other stories on my list.

ps.  Of course this book has yummy recipes for bakers to try.  I continue to resist!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Disney Blog Day 4

Day 4, Part 2

Upon returning to the ship, we quickly changed and headed for dinner.  We enjoyed a lovely evening of lobster and each other's company.  I found our servers to be warm and each night the assistant server had a "trick" or "activity" to show my boy.  I found the food to be absolutely delicious each time I sat down for a meal.  We had the breakfast buffet, twice, and found it to be unremarkable.  It is a breakfast buffet, standard, nothing to set it apart.  I found the lunch buffet on the island to be less than stellar.  Really, plenty of room for improvement in this area.  The lunch buffet on departure day was fabulous!  I cannot stress enough that each meal that I sat down for, breakfast, lunch and dinner(s) we scrumptious.  

Following dinner, LRHB and I met up with our companions.  The youngsters headed to Kids Club, while we went for a drink.  I had promised my boy that we would do the Aquaduck again tonight because we'd only gotten to ride it once the previous night.  It was super windy so the requirement was in place that two people had to be in the raft.  So much for me doing a couple and letting him ride the night away!  Friends, it is NOT a water slide.  It is a water COASTER with speed and tight turns not to mention the billion steps to get to the top to ride it.  However, we did it eight straight times so that he could say that he had ridden it ten times.  I am so glad that 10 was his magic number!  

A word about his experience in Kids Club.  Had he had a companion his own age perhaps it would have been better.  He is on the cusp of the kids and tween groups and has always related well to older kids, therefore as he was probably one of the oldest kids there, this might have contributed to his less than thrilled opinion of the Kids Club.  It was crazy busy at 8:00 at night with tons of kids!

Again, we skipped the evening show (for the water coaster) and headed off to bed.  We slept well each night on the ship!  

Friday, May 15, 2015

Book #27

The Marcelli Bride
by Susan Mallery

The next romantic tale involving my friends, the Marcellis, began with a long stretch in the plot line.  The characters were true to themselves and it was fun to watch the heroine come into her own.  Another questionable plot turn came at the end when we needed our hero to save his love.  I had partially predicted the story line, but even I didn't expect such a faux pas by some of the characters that led to the concluding scenes.  I think that writers that don't have to stretch reality so far tend to tell better stories.  I was invested in the characters from the previous three stories so I wanted resolution and, in spite of the gross exaggerations, I enjoyed the story.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Disney Blog Day 4

Castaway Cay.  Disney's private island.  This was the part of the vacation that I had been awaiting.  If I could have spent two days here, I would have been in heaven!  

We walked from the ship to the beach area and picked up our snorkel equipment.  After claiming a chair and slathering ourselves in sunscreen, we headed to the snorkel area.  It took a bit for LRHB to get used to the equipment, but then the world below the surface opened up to him and he loved it.  WE loved it.  We snorkeled about 75-90 minutes before returning to the shore.  He ran of to play with his admirers while I read (what else did you think I was going to do!).  After a mediocre lunch (that's actually a generous assessment), we explored some other areas of beach one.  We never made it to beach two!  Eventually, we headed back in for another long snorkeling session.  When we returned, people were packing it in for the day.  I discovered that the beach would close in about 35 minutes and that we had a bit more than an hour to be back on board.  Fabulous!  We moved our stuff and took advantage of the empty beach.  He tried to stand on flat floaties and inner tubes.  He floated while I watched, laughed and encouraged, all with my toes in the water!  Every five minutes they would announce how much longer until the beach closed.  At 4:24 pm, they announced five more minutes.  A minute later, they closed the beach!  What!  This is now commonly referred to around the house as when we got "kicked off the beach".  We were the only ones there and I guess they wanted us to go.  BTW, we were not in danger of missing the ship because we were on board a mere 8 minutes later.  

Monday, May 11, 2015

Book #26

The Lemon Meringue Pie Murder
by Joanne Fluke

I enjoy Hannah, the main character of these mysteries.  She has weight issues, strong family connections and lives in a fictional small town with small town values (to include everyone being in everyone's business).  I cannot wait each tale to discover how she ends up involved in solving the mysteries since she contends each time that she is NOT going to be involved.  Although I had my suspicions and put together the motive for the murder in this story, I hadn't connected all of the dots to discover the murderer.  Once again the story was laced with yummy treats, however, I have managed not to bake any.  Yet.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Disney Blog Day 3

Day 3, Part 2

Over breakfast, the LRHB had told me that he didn't feel good at dinner the night before.  When I questioned him, I discovered that he had picked up on the awkwardness.  I made the decision to make other dinner arrangements and spent some time during the day explaining to the front desk why I needed to switch tables.  When I arrived at dinner, I learned that they had not received my request, but they were more than happy to make it happen for me.  We received a table for two and began our second night ordering from every course.  When it came time for dessert, we nearly couldn't do it!  The prime rib, seafood, salads and appetizers nearly did us in!  

We joined our FL friends for the Pirate Party on deck!  Her boys were Kindergartners and thought my boy walked on water; he loved their hero worship!  It made for a fun time!  Then the two of us went back to our room, changed into our bathing suits and hit the Aquaduck, a water coaster!  Unfortunately, we didn't realize that it was closing and only got one ride.  We decided to make time for it again the next day and headed to bed, watching basketball from the comfort of our bed!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Book #25

The Atonement Child
Francine Rivers

I chose this book because I thought that it had come up on a classic romances list.  However, after reading this book, I went back and researched how this came to be on my Nook.  Let me be clear, it is NOT a classic romantic story.  I discovered that Atonement  was the book that came up on the 'classic romances' search and Atonement Child came up on the library search with Atonement.  Because Atonement Child is by an author whom I have read and enjoyed, I checked it out.  It is not a classic romance, however it is a powerful tale of faith, grace and being a follower (not a fan) of God.  It led me to prayer and soul searching about a emotional topic.  God and I are still at odds, but I am working on it.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Disney Blog Day 3

We awoke in Nassau to a beautiful, sunny day.  After hitting the breakfast buffet, we were headed for a harbor tour.  I must add that I turned my head for just a moment at the buffet and when I turned back, the eggs, sausages and bacon piled on his plate would have been enough to feed our family of five.  Almost. 

LRHB wanted to say that he'd been to a foreign country and just being in port was not enough for him.  After researching our shore excursion options, we settled on a harbor cruise that gave some history of the area, but didn't require a lot of walking/bus riding.  For much of this trip, I was letting him drive our plans and was happy with his decision.  The boat ride was fun!  We got some history of the area, but it was so little that I remember none of it.  I do remember the large estates that were pointed out to us as well as the information she gave us on Atlantis.  We met a family from right up the highway from us and discussed hockey with them and a young newlywed couple!  Once back on land, the muggy heat was getting to my boy.  I just wanted to stop and look at the vendors that were set up right outside the port entrance; he complained and complained and complained.  I managed to make a couple purchases and though one of them was for him, it still didn't appease his crankiness.  He did stop for a picture and begrudgingly took a couple pictures of me.  However, once on board, the complaining continued.  I issued an ultimatum:  go play.  Swim, play basketball or mini-golf, get lunch or check yourself into the kids club.  I announced I was going my own way and he was not invited.  He was quite unsure of this turn of events, but I convinced him that I wasn't mad; I just think we needed some time apart.

I headed to the dining room serving lunch.  I ordered a cold seafood appetizer and carrot soup.  Both were wonderful!  None of the main dishes caught my eye so I ordered the mango soup also.  I think they thought I was crazy, but I loved every bite.  I finished up with dessert, of course.  The entire time I enjoyed the peace and quiet of being alone and the book on my Nook.  I changed into swim gear and headed for the pool.  Finding the boy playing basketball, I convinced him to come eat and showed him where I would be for the rest of the afternoon.  After he ate, he had reserved some time in the sports simulator, then he spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, water sliding and playing with our new friends.  

Comfortably sitting by the pool enjoying both the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze, I was content to read the afternoon away.  When another mom was looking for a chair, I offered up LRHB's since he was done eating and unlikely to sit in it again.  Little did I know, my cruise soul mate was sitting down next to me!  We discussed motherhood, sports, college days and kids.  We shared common values and a passion for wine.  The afternoon flew by in the companionship of my new friend!  We agreed to meet up again after dinner for the Pirate Party.  By this time, her boys and mine were having adventures together in the pool.  We really wished we could have been table mates!  

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Resolution #10

Mix up your Exercise Routine

I challenge those of you who do the same classes or the same activity to find something new to do.  It could be as simple as what I did:  I got off the treadmill and heading into the woods.

I have been walking for the last several months.  I walk at school on the playground or in the testing areas.  I walk on the treadmill at the gym, rocking out to the tunes on my iPod.  I admit, I am content with my routine, my habits.

A few weeks ago, LRHB was invited to go on a hike with a friend.  The deer in headlights look caught me off guard.  He loves being outside.  He loves being with this friend.  He is in good shape because he is a duel sport kid.  However, we don't hike so he was afraid he wouldn't be able to keep up.  Then the hike turned into a bike ride which he did and loved, but also had great anxiety about undertaking.  

So I have moved my walking routine outside to the many trails in our area and I am dragging the kid along with me.  First, I don't think I should be hiking by myself; this is what I use to convince him to go with me.  He's such a good boy that he wants to keep his momma safe.  Next, I think it is a good way to broaden his training; you don't much running in baseball or swimming (not that we are running, but you get the point).  Finally, we have gotten into a rut about being together; it is usually filled with me listing the chores/homework that needs to get done and him complaining about it as we rush off to another of his activities.  We use this hiking time to talk, really talk, to each other.

Perhaps the monotony of your exercise routine could use a little spicing up, as mine did.  The added bonus of shared time with the kid is like finding an extra chocolate at the back of the kitchen drawer.

Book #24

Deja Dead
Kathy Reichs

I had been meaning to read a book by Kathy Reichs because she is the inspiration for one of my favorite shows, "Bones".  The reason that I finally checked her first book out was to fulfill the 2015 Reading Challenge.  First, I had to read a popular author's first book; additionally I had to read a book that inspired a television show.  Check, check.  I liked it.  I'll admit that some of the gruesome details I skimmed.  And some of the science was not my cup of tea.  But she is a likable character, a strong female with just enough softness to make her believable.  If you like murder mysteries, than you might want to try this one out for yourself.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Disney Blog Day 2

Disney Blog Day 2, part 2

After finishing our wonderful meal, we headed to our room to change and head to the pool.  I managed to grab a chair nearby and Reilly attempted to swim laps in a very crowded pool.  We both enjoyed our afternoon returning to our room only to participate in the mandatory lifeboat drill and get ready for dinner.  Somewhere in there, Reilly found the basketball court and enjoyed some hoops.  We also perused the events of the day in our daily guide, skirted the launch party enjoying it from an upper deck and watched dolphins diving in the waters off the side of the ship as we set sail.

Dinner was awkward.  I commend Disney, honestly, for trying.  They took three young men of similar age, travelling with three mothers and put them at a table for six.  I get it.  The kids, moms or both COULD have hit it off.  Not so much with this group.  First, we were seated across from each other.  Now my boy is good at a restaurant, but we had arrived last and it seemed everyone was ready to order.  First boy ordered from the children's menu.  My boy figured out what he wanted, but didn't realize that he could additionally order soup, salad and/or an appetizer.  The next young man ordered from the "light menu", (brown rice, grilled chicken, broccoli).  Now the moms' turn:  Mom #1 asked many questions about the sauces and the alcohol in the sauces and about not having any sauces with alcohol anywhere near her food.  Mom #2 actually ordered what LRHB ordered.  I ordered an appetizer, a soup for Reilly and then my dinner.  I didn't order the glass of wine for fear of offending Mom #1.  Mom #1 and son, who had been speaking English up to this point, launched into a lengthy conversation, in French.  Um, rude much?  Finally the food arrived:  LRHB ordered snapper with scallops.  To his disappointment there was only ONE scallop.  "Mom, mom, mom.  The menu said scallopS, not scallop."  I told him to talk to the waiter; of course the waiter graciously fixed this for him by delivering an additional 5 scallops for him to enjoy!  

After dinner, we went to the Sports Bar, which is open to all ages until 9 p.m.  We watched some of the March Madness tourney and headed to bed.  LRHB didn't want to see any stage shows and I didn't care enough to either go without him or force him to go.  Our bed was turned down and I read while he drifted off to sleep.  We were officially having a good time, but I had decided to talk to someone regarding our dinner seating.