Get your Gleek on

All this Vitamin D and the latte full of caffeine I just inhaled have me on cloud nine right now. Well, that and the fact that I’m planning a conference/retreat for bloggers this coming spring with Stacey which has me so totally excited.

I get fired up easily. A quick-start, if you will. And I married one, too.

How’s that going by the way? I’ve talked about this before … our 2009 was a woozey to say the least. One which I might talk about more in depth in a different post later but the trip to Florida, well, we’re going to forget that a good half of that trip ever happened. And then we’re going to talk about it in counseling.

But enough of that – GLEEK RETREAT is coming your way! Creating space so you can create the content. Let’s grow together.

oh. my. everlovingmother.

A bullet list of a day of travel with two children:

# On our way to the airport we get a call from the airline, our flight is cancelled. The end.

# After a half hour on the phone we finally got on a plane that left later the same day and they gave us some travel vouchers.

# In the meantime, we had some time to kill so I took Jessica to Crazy Bounce. My phone blacked out, stopped working completely. Guys at phone store didn’t even know what to tell me. They recommended taking it back to get replaced completely. Unfortunately that was an hour and half of time we no longer had.

# Grab Lunch, run home, throw my phone in Aaron’s lap and say – PLEASE!! Do something!!

# It works for him, I utter things under my breath about stress and anxiety. He laughs, we eat lunch.

# Our caravan to the airport goes well, we’re dropped off. Checked in. Drinking a latte. Flight is delayed.

# Delayed again.

# Security check point is like a marathon sprint and we’re crawling on all fours. People start to say things “quietly” and the officers are trying to be helpful but really, we have no idea if this stroller will fit through the x-ray machine – that’s their job.

# Find our gate. Delayed again. Of course.

# Talk to the attendant at the gate, ask if we’re really leaving the airport today and she says – oh yes! The plane is on it’s way!

# 10 minutes later she announces to the entire gate that the plane just took off, will be here in 28 minutes. Uh huh, right.

# She wasn’t lying.

# Board the plane, give Oliver some Benadryl. Oh yes I did. And oh no it did not.

# Spend the rest of the 25 minute flight fighting with Oliver to calm down, sit down, stop kicking the seats and please stop screaming.

# He does not listen.

# We land, find food and our next gate. Which happens to not be delayed.

# Board that plane, we’re all in the same row – Thank you Lord! Aaron wants to give Oliver another Benadryl, you know … THIS one might work. I’m already defeated for the day and after explaining to him that sometimes the Benadryl actually amps the kid up he says – well, I’ll give him one more any way.

# He gives him one more.

# We spend the next hour with a screaming, unhappy kid. Do not under estimate that. Literal screaming.

# He finally falls asleep, we’re all exhausted.

# Then the family behinds us looses their marbles. Kid starts screaming, snot’s every where, puke is happening and her ears are making her feel like her head is splitting in two. She audibly says how she never, ever wants to go to Disney World ever again!

# I agree with her.

# Oliver of course wakes up to this raucous but Jessica sleeps through it – we land without incident and both kids have kept their cool for the last half of the flight.

# We’re HERE! We have no way of getting to the hotel. So … lets rent a car?

# First, check on taxi fare – $60 we’re told. Ok, then … back to thinking about renting a car.

# Aaron walks up and down the car rental counter, we finally decide on a company but oh wait – they don’t take debit cards.

# Actually … no one takes debit cards. And especially Aaron’s because there’s been a hold/stop put on it by our bank. Seeing charges from other states gives them reason to believe we’re being stolen from. Awesome. Nice security. Shitty timing.

# Come to find out we won’t be able to use Aaron’s card until Monday, the folks who placed the hold aren’t in the office until Monday. Obviously.

# I am now his Sugar Mama.

# We pay for the taxi ride – get to the hotel at 1 am, Oliver falls out of the car when we’re exiting … all 2 1/2 feet to nice hard asphalt. The crying begins, again.

# Calm every one down, check in – we’re upgraded!! Thank you Lord.

# Find our room, put Oliver on the bed while we brings bags into the room and he falls the 2 1/2 feet from the bed to the floor. We’re realizing we’re terrible parents. More crying.

# A bath, teeth brushed and actual beds for the kids to sleep in. One hour later they’re actually sleeping.

# So are we.

# 6 hours later – they wake up.

# We miss the continental breakfast, call around for a car rental – wait an hour, walk to a restaurant, get called that the car has arrived, don’t eat and walk back … figure out the rental, rent a car seat (we forgot ours) and we’re finally on our way to breakfast.

# Finally.

# But not before Oliver falls off the bed yet again, expect this time Aaron tried to catch him and fell on top of him instead.

# It’s 35 degrees outside.

# I’m done.

Well that didn’t go as planned.

I should be sitting in an airport right now blogging about our exceptional skills as parents to wrangle our kids through security with such ease. And then I’d gaggle under my breath from the sheer lie.

But no, I’m home, in my kitchen … updating you on the first leg of our travel to Disney. Or, well, lack of travel.

We’re on our way to the airport this morning when my phone rings with a number I don’t recognize but I answer any way thinking this is a repeat call from yesterday that I let go to voicemail – it was my plan to tell them to stop calling me with their 1-800 numbers, that I wasn’t interested in whatever they were selling.

Instead I hear “This is American Airlines calling to tell you that your flight (sequences of letters and numbers) has been cancelled.”

The end.

WHAT?!???!!!!???!?!?!

I’m a pilots kid, this has never happened to me. Not because I’m a pilots kid, but almost everything else has happened to me when air travel is the way to go and this, this has not. What do I do?

There’s an option at the end of the call to speak to an agent, so I go that route hoping something is going to work or someone can tell me what’s really going on.

Ah the travel agent. She was very nice actually. It took about 30 minutes to figure everything out but we did get on another plan for later this afternoon and they’re giving us travel vouchers for a future trip. Nice. Bonus. They originally only had openings on a flight that left tomorrow but then checked again, some more and checked one last time and found a couple seats open on a flight later this after noon.

We’ll take it!

And we did.

And now we’re home, waiting it out, trying to explain this all to Jessica without breaking her heart. Oliver … is sleeping so … he’s awesome.

I think in the mean time I’ll be taking Jessica to Crazy Bounce to get rid of some the energy that has built up getting ready for the trip today. We’ll be sitting a lot later, so jumping just seems appropriate right now.

Disney WORLD!

We are headed to Disney this coming week and have known about this vacation for about 2 years – we told Jessica on her 3rd birthday that if Grandpa and Grandma-Great were still going to Florida during the winter when she turned 5 that we’d take her Disney.

The girl has not shut up about this since we mentioned it. Parenting 101 – do not mention life changing experiences to a child who can remember such things were ever thought of.

So – ok, we’ve known that this vacation was a possibility for a couple of years but did nothing to plan for it until about 3 months ago. Oh! She’s going to be FIVE!! We have to take her DISNEY! Maybe I should call a travel agent? No no, I can look online. BLAH! OVERWHELMING!

Any way – I got over it and finally purchased plane tickets. Then last night I finally reserved a hotel for our time away and also made a game plan for when we’re down there. A list, if you will, of the things we can to do and how much they’re going to be so that if we have to pick and choose once we’re there we’ll know our options.

Here’s the rundown:

We’ve been saving for this trip and have a total of $2,500 alloted for everything, travel, food, lodging and fun.

$700 of that is traveling, $300 of it is hotel stay and a potential $580 is fun (from my list) which is this:

$226 for Disney for 3 people, one day
$216 Sea World (2 days possible but a one day ticket)
$50 Gatorland for the family (Oliver is free every where we go)
$86 Arabian Nights – dinner theatre.

I’m torn on whether or not I should be buying this pass for our kids to eat free while we’re there – thinking we’ll eat out at least once a day, sometimes twice. We’ll have breakfast at the hotel every morning, it’s free, and then eat out for lunch or dinner, or both. The room we have doesn’t have a kitchenette but I’m going to see if they have available that do when we get there and see about making that work. Then we’ll only be eating out once a day, if we can help it.

First, I don’t know if Oliver will cost anything to eat most of the time or not because of his age. So do we buy two passes or just one? And what if the restaurants that are participating in the Kids Eat Free Program just don’t sound appetizing to us, are run down, closed or unavailable?

I think I’ll make that decision once we get there. But do give me your opinion on that one, I need help deciding.

We’re thinking of giving Jessica $50 spending money so she can buy whatever she wants as a souvenir but we know that she’ll spend it on candy and stupid ornaments and then not have any buying power once we actually make it to Disney for her birthday. She’s (almost) 5 and just this morning asked me what a budget meant, so I know she’d appreciate the trust and freedom … but we might be setting ourselves up for major meltdown when her money is gone and she hasn’t spent it on mickey ears yet or the ice cream she REALLY has to have.

Now – your turn, what should NOT MISS while we’re there?? Any great budgeting ideas when traveling with kids to amusement parks? We borrowed a stroller so we can bring a couple things with us into the park on her birthday – and I plan to have an arsenal of snacks and drinks so we’re not buying our way through the day on food.

Go!

Gearing up for things to come

Things are lining up for the new year around here and to give you something to look forward to I’ll just list a few fun things to come.

We’ll be doing a grown up make-over to Jessica’s bedroom and taking you along the ride step by step, how-to by how-to and decision by decision. I’m going to need your help.

I’ve decided that this is the year to learn carpentry and knock that off my life list so be on the lookout for similar projects that require tools and tape measures. Built-in’s, window seats … a kitchen. Just a few.

Probably going to see some pretty major painting overhauls in our house this year too. Again, your help with the colors, please. I like you guys. You’re smarter than me.

It won’t all be homey home stuff next year, I’ll be vamping up the lifestyle posts I did this summer. Giving you a more up to date, pull the bandaid off kind of look into my daily life. More photos (willing that I get a new camera asap) and, as seem to be favorites by you lovey lovelies … more vidoe’s.

We’re also contemplating a weekend edition video of the whole family cooking together. A home-video cooking show, if you will, that involves the whole family. We threw this idea out to Jessica a few weeks ago and she fuh-reaked out, she’s very excited about all this. So you can bet you’ll be seeing some Jessicaranae on Jodimichelle.

Can’t wait for the new year and all it’s possibilities.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!