Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Do-Over at Disney

Recently, Hubby asked what our plans were for Memorial Day.  As a family, we began doing ‘something’ for Memorial Day as a way to celebrate another year of school passing, because Annie was hating school and failing.  It’s since become a tradition to do something – we’ve gone to Jacksonville Beach and St Augustine, but our favorite, of course, turned out to be Disney.  We’ve been going to Disney for Memorial Day for about 4-5 years now and love it. So, no surprise that we decided we should go this year, treating it as a ‘do-over’ because of the bad last day we had from our last trip.

We, of course, stopped at Krispy Kreme on the way down, and decided to try making the trip without the Garmin.  We did great, found our way onto property, but then ended up BEHIND the MK Parking Plaza gates, on the road near Wilderness Lodge (I think)!  Now, if we were less by-the-book or if it wasn’t Memorial Day Weekend, I would have continued on my merry way to the MK parking lot without buying a parking ticket. However, I like my car and didn’t want it to get towed, so we had to backtrack all the way around, all so we could get a parking slip!  Before doing that, however, we did take a moment to drive through the Wilderness Lodge parking lot, to get a feel for the place – we’ll be there in under 4 months!

It was hot and really busy, so we didn’t expect to get a lot done.  We picked up some new Sorcerer cards, rode a few rides, ate lunch (repeat after me: DON’T EAT LUNCH AT LUNCH TIME AT PECOS BILL! It was crazy busy!) then decided to get on the Railroad to take us back to Main Street.  As we sat on the train and slowly took off, hubby tapped me on the leg, pointed at Big Thunder and said “People are IN LINE!” Holy crap! Soft opening!  We rode the train all the way around and back to Frontierland, then the three of us did that not-running-but-walking-way-too-fast-to-be-walking walk over to Big Thunder and got in line – the line was all the way past the Fastpass machines, but it was moving very quickly, and I had my camera up, snapping shot after shot as quickly as I could! 

The Standby and Fastpass lines have been switched around
In-Line Water Fountains (High and Low)
Some random guy partaking in the goodness of In-Line water

A look back at the queue (and all those boxes...)
Random people in front of a separator wall (okay, they're family)
The geysers are freshly painted and fully geysering!
What's up with the boxes? Do we get some Old West Strippers?
Love the lights! Are those AC Vents in that rusty pipe?
2nd type of hand-rail, meant to look like water pipes?

 We’re one of the first to ride!!!!


We got to the final turn-around in the queue before you begin to go down and the ride came to a stop.  We were in line for a few minutes before we were told that it was down for good, and we were escorted out of line.  BOOOOOO!

There was rumbling within the groups of families that the ride may come back up in ‘a few minutes’ so we camped out by the hooded fastpass machines and kept an eye on all the CMs.  At one point, a cutie CM named Daniel came over and I was asking him questions – namely: Can I go take pictures while there’s no one in the queue?  Shocker- the answer was no.  Supposedly, even he wasn’t allowed in there when the ride wasn’t running!  I asked him about the Mysterious Boxes in the queue and he stated that he couldn’t talk about those, but we ‘may see some cool stuff on Monday’ when BTMRR officially opened.

I think we hung around for about an hour – Frontierland emptied out for the three o’clock parade, then the tide rolled back in when it was over, until finally Daniel came over and politely (and without saying it was definitely closed) mentioned that if we had other rides we wanted to ride, we may want to head that way. So we threw in the towel and gave up on being an early rider and got back on the train. We all laughed and said that if we saw people riding, we were going to cut someone!  We didn’t, and we didn’t. We took a side trip over to the Contemporary to suck up some of their free wi-fi, then headed back to MK to grab a few things at the Emporium (that we didn’t get on our earlier trip at the beginning of the month) and swapped that stuff out for my camera gear at the locker up front.

We finished the night with dinner at Columbia Harbor House, then watched The Magic, Memories and You with the special summer theme, then Wishes. By the time we got back to the locker and returned our key, it was nearing 11.  We joined the masses at the ferry boat and I think we got back to our car around 11:45. 

Here now, I admit to the stupidest thing I’ve done in almost 20 years: I drove home.  I’d been up since 6am. It’s now midnight.  Somewhere around Okahumpka on the turnpike, my body realized what time it was and wanted no more of this awake stuff.  For the next hour, I was one blink away from sleeping.  I’ve always heard how dangerous it was to drive when you are that tired, but like a lot of people, I never REALLY knew.

I know now.  Do not drive if you are that tired! Ever.

It was about 2:30 by the time we pulled into the driveway and climbed into bed. 
I think it was 2:31 when I fell asleep.

Needless to say, hubby called in sick 5 hours later for work, then climbed back in bed!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

FAM Fest 5k

Welp, I now have my second 5k under my belt.

First off, I have to say that I was completely underwhelmed by this race.  The packet pickup was in a weird place and we had to walk through a Farmer's Market (literally THROUGH one guy's tent) to get to where it was. There was no official start line - we were just told to go stand on the street!  Walkers and runners lined up together, so runners had to maneuver around the slower folks who didn't have a mind to stand in the back.

And they're off!
There was only one water station, at which we got a 2oz Dixie cup full of tepid water. The roads were not blocked off in any way, so we had to dodge traffic, and the route was so 'this way, that way' that I think I expended more energy keeping an eye out for directional signs than running a race!

That's me in the back on the left in teal, #1834!
But the worst part was the location of the route itself. No offense to the residents of Lake City (of which my mom is one), but you have some seriously ghetto neighborhoods!  The (extremely convoluted) route went through areas where there were condemned houses, burnt-out houses, a house whose roof was collapsed by a tree, and my personal favorite - a house that was currently being surveilled by a COP with a GUN (who told us to run on the other side of the road)!!
My new running pal Betty is in the pink top on the right

Anyway, enough complaining - how was the actual race?  It wasn't too bad. I think that's the best I can do here.  I walked the majority of it because I wanted to keep pace with my daughter and she wasn't running much. We were at the back of the pack pretty much from the beginning, but that's okay.  There were a few stragglers behind us, and I knew that as long as we kept them there, we wouldn't be last.   When we got to the final turn to make a left onto the road that had the finish line on it, I let her go first. She ran through the finish line with her hands above her head in a sign of victory and I though I might cry with mommy pride. After she crossed, I ran through as well, spotting my mom and giving her a smile as I went through. 

I moved out of the chute and gave my daughter a HUGE hug and then I remembered to turn off my stopwatch. I finally looked at it and I finished - WE finished - in less than 51 minutes.  Even though I didn't PR this race, I consider it a good time because I had to keep up with my daughter and had to deal with a weird course and it was hotter than hell that morning!  All in all, it was only two minutes over my first 5k time, so..... GOOD FOR ME!!

We were given food tickets in our packet as well, so we popped over to get a ham sandwich, chips and a drink (more tepid water, yay) and to check our results.

Apparently, the folks who were behind us the whole time either just gave up or weren't counted if they did finish because my daughter and I were the last two recorded as finishing. But I made good on my promise I made to my daughter - if it came down to the two of us being last, I would let her cross first so that she didn't finish last.

After checking out the overall results, we checked the results by age group and my daughter came in SECOND in her age group, so she got a ribbon!  Betty also came in either second or third in her age group, but she left before getting her ribbon, so they said they would mail it to her.

So, we raced, we mingled, then we got the heck out of there and headed over to mom's house so we could change.  I gotta say this - it is very strange to be nekkid in your mommy's room when you are a grown-ass woman. I thought it would be easier to change in her room rather than her tiny bathroom. Oh, and Bondi Bands??? WORTH EVERY PENNY!  When I took it off of my head, I think it must have weighed a pound because of all the sweat it had absorbed. It was disgusting, because it was wet, clammy and cold!  I love these things!

Dressed and no longer sweaty, we went out to lunch at a local country buffet and I put a huge dent in that bad boy, as did my daughter, who rarely does! We had a great afternoon with mom before I took off (I had to go to the vet and then a rescheduled massage therapy session) and left my daughter there for a sleepover.

Despite the crappy race, it was still a race and I still participated and I still finished.  We all know the expression, right?

Last place or not, I STILL FINISHED.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Bondi Bands!

After a very sweaty run on Wednesday, I decided that I need some sweat bands. I have one that I got at Walmart for a buck - it's as thick as a gas station maxi-pad and about as absorbent. I needed something better.

Ta da! Bondibands!  I've seen a lot of great reviews for these on the Dis, so I took a look around and ended up ordering these 5:
All 5 of them lined up

White on teal: "If I'm doing this, it must be getting cold in HELL!"
Too bad it's not getting any colder in FLORIDA!

White on grey: "Not fast but not last!"
My goal is always to finish and not be last, so I'll wear this one a lot!

White on Hot Pink (even if it looks red)
I got this one for DD for the FAM 5k next weekend.

White on Purple (it's a really nice grape purple, too!)
This is for me, to match DD next weekend (I'm not normally THAT mom, but what the heck!?!)

Silver on Black
Every princess-in-training needs a tiara to train in!

Use promo code FIVE to get 5 Bondi Bands for $25

Use Promo code ONE to get a free Bondi Band when you buy three (Buy 3 Get 1 Free)

Over the weekend, I took DD to JCP to pick up some spring clothes (she is almost as tall as me now!) and also to get some running gear. We got her a pair of compression capris and a tech tee in lime green - that will look fabulous with a hot pink Bondi Band!  Oh well - she is happy with the choice and ready to run!

DD helped me pick out a new running skirt and tech tee (in aqua blue) for Mother's Day, and I also snagged a pair of black compression capris so that I'd have a back-up pair.  

Guess what, folks??? Both the skirt and the capris are SIZE LARGE!!!!!  LARGE!!!! I have not seen the word LARGE on my clothes - without an X or, God help me, XX - in DECADES!!!  Part of me knows that clothing makers are cutting things bigger and 20 years ago this large I'm freaking out about would have been an XL, but you know what I have to say about that?  SHUT UP, I'm in a LARGE!

The skirt is a good length - the shorts on the inside come down past those wonderful saddlebags on my inner thighs (so no chub rub there) and covers the dimply wasteland of my back thighs!  I'll probably wear it next week to break it in, but I plan on wearing my trusty capris to get me through the FAM 5k this weekend!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Not running alone this time

After going home and telling hubby that I was going to run the FAM Fest next weekend, my DD asked if it was something that she could do with me. I promised that I'd check the age restrictions and, if she was old enough, I'd sign her up.

Sure enough, I didn't see any sort of age restrictions to this race, so I signed her up!  Now I'll be doing my second 5k, she'll be doing her first, and my mom got stuck sitting on the sidelines alone.  Kind of sucks, but we're taking her to lunch afterwards for a late Mother's Day, so that's good.

Also, my new friend Betty will be there. She's the gal I met at Susie's Run last month.  I'm sure we'll pass each other here and there during the course of the race!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

...So I signed up for another race!

Since my feet were still in pretty good shape after a weekend at Disney, I debated with myself whether or not I wanted to sign up for another race.

What I did want was a Garmin Forerunner watch!  I've been wanting one since I began this whole thing, but I could never find a deal.  On Monday, I got lucky!  Amazon had the Forerunner (no heart rate monitor) for $159.99. had them for $147.88 or something like that.  Hubby works at Walmart and we get a 10% discount in stores AND online.  I also had $30 worth of gift cards from MyPoints and rebates, so final price for this awesome watch?  $115 shipped to me at work!!!  What a deal!
Garmin Forerunner 110 without Heart Rate Monitor
However, to allow myself to get the watch, I told myself I had to sign up for a race (yes, I bribed myself), so I signed up for the 3rd Annual FAM Fest 5k in Lake City, FL. My mom lives in Lake City, so I figured she could watch my DD while they both cheered me on from the sidelines. 
Go HERE to learn more or HERE to sign up!

The race benefits Haven Hospice (our North Florida chapter), and Haven is one of my favorite charities, so it's a win-win!

I didn't get a run in on Monday, because it was a non-training day - I work late on Mondays 2x a month, so it's easier to make Mondays an off day. 

On Tuesday, I was set to do a quickie treadmill run, but Hubby wanted me to help him buy something online:  new iPod Touches for both of us!  He told me that his Sansa mp3 player was dying and wanted to replace it. After looking online, again at Walmart, he found an 8g iPod Touch (4th Gen) with free 6pc Accessory kit for only $184.99!  So, we talked ourselves into buying them - one for Mother's Day and one for Father's Day. With our discount, they came out to $166 plus tax, free shipping to my office! 

I was determined to get in a run, so all day on Wednesday, I geared myself up for the treadmill.  I ended up doing 20 minutes, but I didn't feel all that into it and it wasn't a very satisfying run....

Hopefully I'll get out of this funk before the FAM next weekend!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Back from Disney and my feet still work!

On Sunday after Susie, I decided to take the day off and not do my usual outside run.  I didn't do laundry, I didn't do dishes - frankly the family was lucky I cooked 'em dinner :)

Mondays are my off days, so I didn't do anything then either.  Unfortunately, I was roped into working late on Tuesday, which IS a training day for me, so I wasn't able to run.  I also skipped Wednesday and Thursday because I wanted my legs to be in good form for our weekend trip to WDW!

We headed down Friday a.m. and walked around MK for most of the day. We finally had a chance to try Tortuga Tavern for lunch, and I must say that the beef nachos (while not healthy) were FANTASTIC!  We substituted extra plastic cheese for the black bean salsa and found a seat in the extremely busy area between Tortuga and Pecos Bill.  All three of us decimated the nachos and practically licked the little plates clean. We will definitely go back for those, but not at noon! I see now why people suggest eating lunch at off times!
We continued with MK until around 7, when we tried to figure out what to have for dinner (Hubby is very tired of Columbia Harbour House, which DD and I love), and I think DD was the one who suggested we eat back at the resort.  Good idea!  We hopped back on the bus and scooted back to Port Orleans Riverside.

The Food Court was busy, but not crazily so (it was 7ish after all) and we split up to find food.  DD went for chicken nuggets (shocker!) and Hubby headed to the sandwich line.
I made a beeline to the Create-Your-Own-Pasta line, as I've heard a lot about this deal. I created Penne Parmesan Alfredo with 1/2 Chicken & 1/2 Shrimp.  It came with a garlic toast slice for $10.69.  The container of pasta must have weighed 3 pounds!  It was a massive amount of food, and I plan on hitting that again, probably before the race in February to carb-load!  it was very tasty, and next time I'll get all shrimp (the chicken was pre-grilled, and reminded me of leftovers - tasty but just "ok").  
I met Hubby in the sandwich line and realized that he was actually in a different line - for dinner the food court has a chef's carving station!  Hubby got 1/2 Turkey & 1/2 Roast Beef (1 slice each), mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and cornbread for $10.99! He gave me the cornbread because he knows i love it. Sadly, however, I had to share it with DD!
After dinner, we headed back to our room, where DD and I each took a quick soak in the tub before we got dressed and headed to Epcot for EMH.  We were only there for about 2 hours, though, before it closed and we had to go back to the hotel.

Saturday was MY day - the Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot. We came specifically for this so that I could take photos.  I had so much fun, but it was so hot!

At noon, we took a lunch break at our most favoritest restaurant ever - LeCellier!  DD thought long and hard about getting the filet, but she buckled and got a burger.  Hubby and I of course got the filet with cream cheese mashed potatoes!
For dessert, we all got milkshakes. We forgot to ask for them "to-go", so we got them in pretty goblets. The chocolate shake has a lot more flavor than the vanilla, FYI. They offer chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and chocolate raspberry!
Once they rolled us out of there, I continued to shoot outside in Victoria Gardens while DD and Hubby went on an expedition to find a potty.  They headed back to me in Canada and we worked our way over to O Canada, something we've never done. It was fun, and we'd do it again, if we needed some AC.
After Canada, I continued shooting topiaries:

Pooh and His Pals in UK


 Sleeping Beauty and Prince Phillip in France
 Belle, Beast, Cogsworth, Lumiere, Ms Potts and Chip in France

Cinderella and Prince Charming in France

Lady & the Tramp in Italy

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in Germany

Pandas in China

Dragon in Japan

 Stitch in front of Mission Space

There's a lot I didn't post and I'm sure I missed some completely, but it's hot, I'm tired, we mistakenly went to World Showcase on CINCO DE MAYO of all days and the douchebagginess was amping up exponentially.  It's time to get the heck out of here!

We went back to the hotel to grab my tripod and fireworks equipment and then made our way, again, to MK for Wishes and the Magic, Memories and You! show. We weren't able to get "our spot" since we were pushing 10pm by then, but we did okay. I ended up setting up behind a pair of strollers, and the kids' dad.  Better than nothing I guess!

Afterwards, we were getting ready to pack up the gear when they announced they were going to do the MMY show again, so we hauled ass up to the Hub in front of the Partner statue and set up again! It was great to be so close to the castle, since I have bad eyes and can't always see the intricate parts of the show.  Speaking of which, at the end of MMY, have you seen the entrance of the castle breathe a sigh of relief?  I didn't get a photo of it, but next time you see it, watch the tunnel entrance at the middle of the castle (that you walk through to get to Fantasyland) - at the very end, it will heave a sigh of relief. Hubby pointed it out and it's so cute!

"To all who come to this happy place - welcome!" --Walt in 1955
After the second viewing, we packed up again and headed over to Storybook Sweets to indulge in ice cream! We love this place - they have HUGE soft-serve sundaes for $4!  DD had a swirl cone. Hubby had a chocolate brownie hot fudge sundae (no pic, sorry!) I had a vanilla caramel sundae. It's a bit phallic, don't you think?

We ate it as quickly as possible since it was melting fast due to the heat, then made our way to Dumbo and the Great Goofini!  These two rides are the first ones open in the New Fantasyland and I was eager to see them!

Dumbo looks great all lit up at night with water in the trenches:

The Barnstormer featuring the Great Goofini is just a re-theme of the original Barnstormer, so there was no change to that ride other than on the face:

However, Storybook Circus as a whole is gorgeous.  the attention to detail, as always, is amazing.  The train tracks radiating from the Casey Jr Splash & Soak area (not open yet) go towards the restroom (which is fashioned as a roundhouse), and then when you go into the restroom (men's and women's, but not the family restroom), there are tiles in the floor to mimic train tracks!

(Wow, this post is getting way long!).

After Fantasyland, we made our way to the Peoplemover and took a ride, before finally realizing that we were exhausted and headed towards the buses. It was a long day, and I quickly fell asleep at the hotel!

Sunday, after trying to gain access to the now free Wi-Fi at the hotel to view our bill (they don't put them on the doors anymore, did you kow that?) I realized that I neglected to call about the Bounceback for our September trip (we always forget to do this!).  Here is what the CM quoted me for 9/29 - 10/5 (cheapest rooms available / club level):

Contemporary $1864 / $2712
Poly $2062 / $2712
Wilderness Lodge $1707 / $2212
Animal Kingdom Lodge $1634 / NA

Those are some seriously good rates!  After talking it over, we booked Wilderness Lodge Woods View with Bunkbed for $1707, with the option to change/upgrade at the same rate if we so desire in the future!  We put down $300 as a deposit and have $1400 left to pay off by September!!!!  Yippee, a new resort to try, and a deluxe to boot!  I love great deals.  Next question is should I pony up the extra $500 for Club Level? The savings on food and drinks alone may be worth it :) I have 4 months to think it over, I guess!

The car packed, we drove over to MK and monorailed over to Epcot to take a few more topiary photos for me and DD wanted to do Sum of All Thrills.  Hubby and DD headed towards Innoventions while stayed at the front with my camera.

About halfway though my 'shoot' my phone rang. I picked it up and got a recording saying it was my bank calling to notify me that my debit card had been deactivated and "press 1 to reactivate".  Uh, what?  I hung up, but a cloud of doubt began forming over my head. I am very worried when we leave town that something will have happened to our house. We were broken into July 2005 (4th of July, to be exact) and ever since then I am trepidatious upon return home - I fully expect to be cleaned out!  I pushed it out of my mind, assuming it was a scam, but I couldn't really get back into my groove. I made my way over to the side and took a few shots of this pretty purple flower with SSE in the background...

 ....when all of a sudden I see this slide into in my viewfinder!

So I told him to say Cheese!

Done with the flowers (and a very bored Stitch), I make my way up to Innoventions, taking a peacock shot before going inside:

I catch up with Hubby and tell him about the phone call and he agrees that it sounds phishy.  DD had a great ride on Sum of All Thrills, (which I'd love to try sometime!) but we needed to head out for our ADRs at the Plaza in MK.

We mono'ed back to MK and each picked up a new packet of cards at the Firehouse for Sorcerer's of the Magic Kingdom, then wandered around the Emporium before heading outside and seeing that the Dapper Dans were just setting up for a show.

We watched them for a bit, and at one point, when they were all tap-dancing the Green Dan told me to "take it!"

I did, but sadly, we couldn't stay and see the rest of the show because our ADR time was up.

We had a great lunch at the Plaza - DD and I both had burgers, while Hubby had the Plaza Club, something I may end up getting next time, it was yummy!

Bacon Cheeseburger with Fries
Club Sammich with Fries
While letting our food settle, we decided that we were ready to head home (as by now both Hubby and I were kind of freaking out about that suspicious phone call), so we packed it up and headed home.

Goodbye Magic Kingdom!
We gassed up at the Hess and made it home by 6ish.  The house was intact, no one broke in, the cat didn't have wild parties and once I got onto the bank's website, there was a big SECURITY ALERT on the home page about this scam.  It's been going around for a month, and now the scammers are attempting to also do it with texts.  I felt much better after seeing this with my own eyes! 

We did 'own thing' for dinner (which means, Eat whatever the hell you want cuz mom's too tired to cook!) and I hit the bed around 8, fully asleep by 9!

Miraculously, when I woke up the next morning to go to work - I was able to walk! I am usually in a lot of pain after a trip to WDW, but I think that the Brooks sneakers (and all this walking/running I'm doing) made a huge difference!  So happy :)