Sunday, February 27, 2011


It was a great week in Disney World. I could never re-tell the entire journey (and who'd want to read it).... but as I go about my day today I'm going to jot down questions and the answers that occur to me.

1. Running in Disney? Success!! I ran everyday we were there except yesterday... clean up and go home day. So, I completed my streak and did 14 days in a row of working out. I'm very happy that I stuck with it and I feel no guilt about taking yesterday off. I got up at 5-ish every morning to do it. Mostly I did a 2 mile loop that I made up by going around the parking lots and down the roads (there was no good running route on the grounds of the Animal Kingdom Lodge where we stayed) followed by treadmill and/or elliptical time in the fitness room. I also did yoga after each workout. Since I never "get" to work out on a treadmill it was cool to be able to monitor my exact speed and distance. Wouldn't want to do it every day and grateful for the bells and whistles to distract me from the monotony.... but it was cool. The somewhat heartbreaking/hilarious P.S. to all that early morning running is that I stepped on the scale this morning to find that I have gained about 4 pounds. Wow!

2. What zone were we staying in? The Twilight Zone. Ya see, the Animal Kingdom Lodge is very cool. The Animal Kingdom Lodge has a lot to offer. The Animal Kingdom Lodge gives some of it's patrons (literally) a .25 walk from the lobby to their room. No joke. In order to give all the guests a view of the savanna they have 2 VERY long wings off of the lobby in the center. Our room was absolutely, positively the furthest it could possibly be from the lobby. It was amusing to me but difficult for others. The reason we Christened it Twilight Zone was because the loooonnngggg hallway to our room looked exactly the same from section to section. Around each slight bend in the walk you saw the same thing as the bend before. The only change was the numbers on the doors.... but obviously if yours is the last room you don't need to look at those. For 400 yards you just walk and re-walked the same 25 or so meter section of hallway. Or so it seems. Crazy. The suite was amazing, though. Great balconies to see the animals. A master bedroom/bath down stairs along with a huge living/dining/kitchen area. Upstairs were 2 big bedrooms with baths. Plenty of room for the 10 of us. (Scott's parents, his brother and sister-in-law and their 2 boys were there.)

3. Six years and 10 months? A great age for Disney. Tommy was in his glory. He had a great time everyday. He is lucky he has a little brother, though, because he spent some time in the stroller every day we went into the parks. He tried out (and loved) the Test Track at EPCOT. He loved the water slide at the hotel. He got trained as a Jedi at Hollywood Studios. He was just plain loving the Disney Life.

4. Four years and 8 months? A good age for Disney. Elliott was generally very happy, too. Not so brave as his brother (of course) and ready to go back to the hotel after about an hour in the Parks. (Yeah, a big fat "NO" to that request each time!) He loved all the things he ought to and was not up for trying anything "risky". But.... he was by and large delightful as usual.

5. Sharing a bedroom with the kids? Exhausting! The kids went to bed great each night (anywhere between 7 and 9:00). The trouble with our kids (especially Tommy) is that they are UP every night. Not fully awake, but talking and rolling around and sitting up like prairie dogs. They also were ready to hop out of bed at 5AM (no matter what time they went down or how exhausted they were when they did). This was fine for me (I was getting up anyway to run) but challenging for Scott who, frankly, wanted to sleep and needed to corral the boys in our room so they didn't walk up the rest of the Giesslers.

6. Junk food? Not a ton! I am kind of proud of the way we managed to eat. My in-laws very generously offered to go grocery shopping for us. My father-in-law is wicked anal retentive so I decided to go with that and give him a very precise list for meals and snacks: whole wheat pasta, frozen veggies, Triscuits, fresh fruit, chicken, ground turkey... It was good to know that it wasn't going to be a week of nugget-based-only meals! We managed to bring in sandwiches to the Parks for lunches and even to the airport for the trip home. (This is more about economy than nutrition, really, but it is a positive in both arenas, I think). It got a little tricky at times because their cousins (who are age 4 & 2) are not accustomed to a huge amount variety in their diets so at times we were competing with, say, corn dogs and chocolate milk for dinner... But, thankfully, the corn dogs had eggs in the them so there was no discussion or argument about whether Tommy should get to have one. There was also a tense moment when my mother-in-law prepared dinner for the kids. She had re-heated left over chicken, peas & corn and some Kraft mac & cheese. We are not monsters about food but we like our kids to eat their "growing food" before they have junk. We gave them a certain amount of veggies and chicken they had to eat before they could eat the "junk". Big mistake calling it junk. My mother-in-law was completely offended. To her, it's healthy. "It's got milk in it!" Thank God it was Scott who used the "J" word and not me. And honestly... they asked us what we wanted the kids to eat... I sent them a precise menu... and mac & cheese was NOT on it. Whole wheat pasta, yes. Tacos with ground turkey, yes. Tomato soup & grilled cheese on whole wheat, yes. But NOT mac & cheese. We guessed that they would get enough processed food from the restaurants and we didn't need to add to the pile of empty fat-laden calories in the hotel room. Anyway, thankfully this wasn't until Thursday night and it was the only night she insisted on making dinner for the kids.... so I maintained control for most of the week.

7. Three families? Three very different ways of getting things done. As with food preferences, it's not easy to negotiate the parenting styles, circadian rhythms, activity preferences.... the list goes on... of 4 parents, 4 children and 2 grandparents. Our boys were up and raring to go bright and early. This worked okay for us because we are used to it. It was not the way everyone else operated. We were all about making as many snacks and meals from the hotel kitchen as possible. Others are more, umm, food service based eaters. (Is that a thing? I don't know. But let's face it: "It's the economy, Stupid." We can't drop 40 bucks for lunch everyday. Everyone else didn't bat an eye about that kind of thing). We have a definite way negotiating what we need from our kids (I am thinking of writing an entire piece on the beauty of "Two Minutes"...) It doesn't always come out the way we want and we certainly had moments over the week when we lost our tempers.... but I definitely noticed the contrast in the way Scott & I get things done and the way the others did. There was a definite deaf ear from the other boys until they heard shouting or threats. Unsettling.

8. Am I a Princess? No. The Disney Princess Half Marathon was this weekend and I totally missed it. I knew it would be happening and I spent a good deal of the week checking out other women's legs to contemplate whether or not they were there to run the race. Unfortunately it was Sunday morning and we left Saturday morning. It was a hoot to see all the Mamas in tiaras with their racing faces on, though!

9. French clowns? Yes, please! On Friday night my sister-in-law, her friend from Ohio, and I went to see Cique de Soliel. It. Was. So. Cool. I had never been to see any of their shows and I was totally blown away by the spectacle of it. The precision of their moves was mind boggling. I kept thinking, what if somebody sneezes? They're all going down! They had trapeze artists, fancy jump ropers, fancy bikers, trampoline artists, hanging-off-of-giant-red-ribbon-ers (ya had to be there...) and four of the cutest freakin' little girls ever. Trying to explain all of what I saw would be a complete waste of effort because you just have to see it. I was a little skeptical but I have to say, if you have a chance to see any of the Cirque shows, do it.

10. Characters? Not really our thing. I've come to the conclusion that you are either Disney character people or you are not. We are not. While some kids would happily wait in line or race acoss the park to get a photo with Mickey or Jasmine or whomever, our boys would walk by and have no interest. (This was also in contrast to their cousins who LOVE the getting-photos-with-characters thing.

11. 2019? The year Tommy can audition for American Idol at Hollywood Studios. He's already got his audition song planned. It's either "It's the Wonderful Time of the Year" (we haven't broken it to him that the actual song is "It's the MOST Wonderful Time of the Year") or "Livin' on a Prayer". Last year Scott & I did the American Idol experience and both got to perform on stage. Tommy was NOT happy about it.... because, of course, HE wanted to be on stage. So, no Idol for us this year. We'll all just have to wait till 2019 when he can show off his stuff.

12. Isn't there more? I'm sure there is.... but it will have to wait. Been writing this on & off all day and time to get the boys to bed.

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