Just Around The Corner

I am so excited to spend the summer with this kid.

Playground Fun

He’s in school for what feels like forever longer, thanks to the snow days piling up and getting tacked on to the end of the year. Since we aren’t really that close to summer break yet, we have just been planning: planning our activities, joining the swim club, making sure our museum memberships are up to date, thinking about what friends we should drag to Kennywood with us, and, for my sanity, signing up for a few week-long summer camps.

I think he’s almost as excited as I am.

Playground Fun

More Magic

We have to go back.

Disney World 2015

One of my friends texted me on our first day there and told me to take it easy. To not cram too much in, especially on the first day. We were exhausted, overheated, and basically teetering on the edge of miserable. I took her advice seriously that day and throughout the rest of the trip: when it felt like we weren’t having fun anymore it was time to go.

So, we spent a lot of time at our hotel.

Fortunately the hotel was lovely (because Disney, man!) and cooling off while having a snack and a rest was really good for all of us. Alex actually went to bed before eight on our first night there, and I struggled to figure out how to take pictures of the fireworks across the way. We enjoyed the air conditioning, the balcony, and the peace and quiet that getting away offered us.

Disney World 2015

Taking it easy was amazing advice. We didn’t push to ride everything, we weren’t stressed trying to fit in every show, and we let ourselves skip some fast passes if it meant more happiness. Because of that, though:

We have to go back.

There is so much we didn’t see. There are rides we didn’t ride, shows we didn’t see, and we barely even scratched the surface of characters. We didn’t do anything in Epcot other than eat, skipped out on all tours and scavengers hunts, and I didn’t even get to try Dole Whip.

Disney World 2015

In all of the times people have said Disney is great, I just kind of brushed them off. Sure it is.

But it really, actually, truly, is great. They weren’t lying. They weren’t exaggerating. And there is so much to do.

Disney World 2015

I hope we can go back some day.

It Really Is Magical

I didn’t actually believe that it would be magical. I mean, it’s a really well organized theme park, right? Sure, Disney has this reputation for being impeccably maintained, and for the entire staff going above and beyond. And sure, the whole booking/organizing process was easier than any other vacation I’ve ever planned, but how could it be that magical?

Disney World 2015

Beyond being clean and beautiful, and beyond the (sort of creepy) fact that there were employees (::cough:: sorry, cast members) willing and able to help you before you even realized you needed help, and beyond the fact that the food was amazing, our whole trip was pretty much perfect. Sure, it rained more than is typical, and, sure, our first day was a mess because waking up at 3:30am is not a good idea no matter the fun plans for the day. (Lesson learned: don’t take the super early flight and expect to do much of anything that day.) It didn’t matter, though, that our first day was kind of meh because the days that followed more than made up for it.

Disney World 2015

The last time we took Alex to an amusement park was when we visited our adorable and, I think, pretty darn awesome, Kennywood right here in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, he didn’t exactly love it. He didn’t want to go on any rides, and, quite frankly, was a little scared of everything. After essentially forcing him to ride one of the milder of the roller coasters, he exclaimed that he hated it and would never go on a roller coaster again. It wasn’t the best day, and the only thing that saved the day was when we ran into some friends. Instead of being a total disaster, at least we got to see friends, and I got to hold my breath and hope that he got over his fear of amusement parks.

So, needless to say, I was a bit worried about how the whole Disney Thing would go. Would he want to go on any of the rides that I was so excited about? Would he enjoy the dark rides at all? How would he handle all of the walking?

Disney World 2015

I had nothing to be concerned about.

Once Alex rode Space Mountain, he was completely sold on rides. All he wanted to do was find the big rides, and for the rest of the trip we dubbed him Our Little Thrill Seeker.

Disney World 2015

Each time we got off of a roller coaster, he would ask to do it again. When I was able to see his face during rides, his smile would be huge, and his laugh infectious.

Disney World 2015

Clearly, we have to go back. And I’m officially so excited to take him to Kennywood again and again this summer. What good is having a kid to take to amusement parks if they won’t go on all of the fun rides with you?

Disney World 2015


It took a long, long, time to get here. Something about this winter felt harder than usual, even though apparently last winter was colder. The cold, the snow, the darkness lingered. It held on and at some point I genuinely wondered how I would deal with a perpetual winter. Would I learn to deal with the cold? Would I whine less? Would I finally find a hat and gloves that kept me warm?

But then: Spring. It’s here, finally, and it feels great.

Spring! Finally!

Bunny Day

Holidays are tricky. Every family celebrates them differently. Beyond that fact that some families celebrate Passover and others celebrate Easter, and others yet do something different entirely or nothing at all, the way that they are celebrated is different. Some families go all out, with large presents, while others do no more than an easter egg hunt. For some families it’s a religious holiday, and for others it is completely secular. The emphasis of the day can be so different.

For us, Easter is about family. It’s about an Easter Egg Hunt. It’s about delicious food, stories, companionship, and, obviously, candy.

For us, for some reason that was probably not discussed ahead of time, the Easter Bunny is the one who hides the eggs for the hunt.

Similar to Christmas, though, I want the credit for the good stuff. The Easter Bunny may be awesome at putting jelly beans in plastic eggs, but I want the credit of the adorable Lego mini figure, the tiny Cars car, and the amazing little Iron Man toy, stuffed inside of the eggs.

Easter 2015

A few nights before Easter, I told Alex that maybe we could have two hunts this year. We could have the Easter Bunny Hunt, inside, in the morning, and then we could have a second hunt later in the day after everyone else arrived.

“How do you know the Easter Bunny will hide them inside?”

I mumbled something about the weather, and who knows, and that whatever the Easter Bunny did would be fine and we would still be able to do a second hunt later!

“So, you talk to the Easter Bunny, then?”

“What do you think, Alex?”

“TELL ME! Mom! I want to know! Do you talk to him? Do you know him? How do you know him?”

These are questions I don’t like and am not prepared to answer. I mean, what does a fictional human sized bunny look like? Does he talk? Is he as tall as Daddy? How does he get in our house? I hope he doesn’t hide the candy outside like last year because last year there were ants in some of the eggs. Where does he get the candy? Why does he give us candy? And sometimes toys? I can’t lie. But I also can’t tell the truth.

I simply told him that I was unable to answer his questions.

Like a spy or something.

Fortunately, he accepted that. And we moved on.

Easter 2015

And Easter was wonderful. We did two hunts! Both indoors, at his request, with the second hunt being, “harder! The Easter Bunny barely hid them at all. I literally saw an egg when I woke up. Like, I literally woke up and there was an egg right there, mom.”

So, I hid them in actual hiding places. Instead of placing them on a couch cushion, on the TV stand, in the fruit basket, I actually hid them. Inside drawers, behind cabinets, under tables.

Today we found another egg. I wonder how many more remain.

Easter 2015

Disney: It’s Happening

The pitiful paid time off that I was given during my various jobs as a nurse never left much wiggle room for vacations. We were very luckily able to make a Parents-Only-Romantic-Vacation happen not just once, but twice, during the last few years thanks to going at really random times, saving up a year’s worth of paid time off, and, most importantly, amazing, phenomenal, grandparents who were willing to watch Alex while we sat on beaches. Other than that, it was a rarity for me to even manage a few days off around the holidays.

Each and every time I got sick, which sadly was pretty often, meant that I had to use paid time off. Every day I spent at home nursing a fever, my own or Alex’s, meant a day that I couldn’t take a vacation. Every time I needed to go to an appointment, deal with a household situation, fix my car…

(And I shouldn’t even complain. I had a paying job. I had paid time off. It was just…not well done where I worked.)

Now that we only have to worry about Zach’s time off, and getting Alex out of school, it became pretty obvious that we had to do something special. Something pretty amazing. Something that the whole family would love.

Disney World. It’s happening.

Disney 2015

We leave next month for four nights in Disney, after which we will spend three nights with my wonderful grandparents who live a few hours away. Being able to combine two trips that we have been meaning to take for a long time is pretty awesome. Disney World will surely be intense, and then being able to spend a few nights recovering by a pool, leisurely reading, walking around, and generally relaxing with family? Pretty amazing.

Disney 2015

Needless to say, we are pretty stoked. I’ve never been to Disney World, and Zach hasn’t been since he was a child. Alex has obviously never been, and, if you ask him, he’s “the only kid EVER” that hasn’t taken a trip to Disney World.

It’s going to be awesome.

Disney 2015

(Disney World lovers, people who have been only once, and people who have any level of opinion on these things: What are the Musts? Must See? Must Do? Must Eat? Must Watch? Must Skip?)