We Will Stand There

I have an eight-year old. I have an eight-year old and a 10-year old and we always stand at the finish line well before it’s time.

Their Dad runs. And we stand there with signs and smiles and we watch with anticipation searching the sea of runners waiting for him to cross the finish line.

We’ve played this scenario out over and over again at that finish line. Sometimes right at the line. Sometimes a block before. Sometimes just after the runners cross. But we are always there.

Off we go!!!

Just like all those families were there. Just like eight-year old Martin Richard and his six-year old sister, his other sibling and their Mom. We stand there. Just like they did. We have done it so many times…because no matter how sweaty our loving runners are, we are so proud and we want that hug so bad.

As the stories pour in about so many families and so many runners and so much hurt and pain all I can do is promise that when my husband’s body is ready again we will stand there at that finish line again.

We will stand there with our signs and our smiles.

We will stand there because we are proud of our runner, but also because we will remember.

And he crosses the finish!!! #awesome80srun @aaronvest rocks!!!!

Every time we ever stand there ever again, we will always remember.

In Fantasyland, I Find My Inner Mrs. Jumbo…Again

A very long time ago, geez…back when we were all baby bloggers…I wrote a post about Mrs. Jumbo. You know, Dumbo’s Mom.

There is that heartwretching part of the movie where Dumbo and his mother have been separated and he finds his mother in circus jail and she cradles him with her trunk and the beautiful, yet haunting, ‘Baby of Mine’ plays as we all weep. I had to write about seeing Dumbo again, this time as a mother:

Can you imagine being torn from your children and locked away without any knowledge of their wellbeing or welfare? Maddening.

Ok. Enough.

I’ve never really been a collector of trinkets or things (shut up, my dear Kaiser husband…regular things don’t count) but I honestly think I may take more of an interest in anything with Mrs. Jumbo.

She deserves the recognition.

Mrs. Jumbo. I’m with ya’ sister in motherhood- in spirit and in ass size.

I also think she should be our new mascot. For all us “naptime activists” and mother’s with causes, Mrs. Jumbo shows we won’t take any shit and will fight if you mess with our kids.

Disney doesn’t just tug at your heartstrings during this moment as a mother elephant reaches to touch and hold and comfort her baby. Disney demands you are present in this moment for all time.

It’s something you never forget because it is locked in your heart forever, never to be let out and never to be erased.

It is a million of those magical moments that make up the expansion of Walt Disney World’s Fantasyland. And yes, like you have been seeing on tv and in your papers and blogs all week, I have been lucky enough to bring my family to experience the biggest thing to happen to the Magic Kingdom in a very long time.

Disney offered to bring me out*, and I opted to bring my Mom and kids along to ‘test’ just how family friendly the ‘new’ Fantasyland really is. Because let’s face it, I’m in a wheelchair for park experiences, and Disney just isn’t Disney without your kids.

But I very quickly learned it wasn’t about all the new features- like an air conditioned play area for you and your kids while you wait ‘in line’ for now TWO Dumbo rides (no really, your places is held in line while the kids can go RUN AROUND AND PLAY) – or seeing the showstopper of Fantastyland: the Beast’s castle.

The amazing new castle where the beast lives!! #newfantasyland

It’s about the moments. The little things. Like walking into the gift shop with my family and seeing Mrs. Jumbo and baby Dumbo and immediately tearing up. Then having my Mom purchase said stuffed toy for me for my 38th birthday which is on Monday. Yes, this grown woman just got a stuffed animal from her Mom at Disney World for her birthday.

But it meant the world.

It’s the silly moments…like getting to talk ‘dinglehoppers’ with Ariel. And laughing hysterically because my kids wouldn’t go near her yet I was there chatting away about dinglehoppers AND football (she didn’t know what that was, she plays clam ball) while my kids watched on half in embarrassment and half in awe.

The Little Mermaid and I just chatting about dinglehoppers #newfantasyland

There were also the moments of wonder and pure magic. Like the look on my children’s faces when the most amazing, and very mysterious dragon flew over our heads and over the Beast’s castle as we explored Fantasyland with the other guests. We had just finished riding Goofy’s Barnstormer’s roller coaster (for the second time…great for smaller kids who like a thrill) when what I swear to you was a REAL DRAGON swooshed over us and around the clouds a bit and then disappeared somewhere near the castle lurking over the hillside.

Dragons are the mystery of #newfantasyland !!!

That dragon had jaws on the floor and everyone buzzing. Including my children who are now dragon-crazy and DETERMINED to find out just where it lives, why it’s here, and where they can discover it’s lair.

And then there is the moments like tucking in tired children who are tightly clutching new LightSabers and new Dragons, having decided to become Disney pin traders…even pin traders who stand for the rights of others…

Jack pin trading and showing his LGBT support!! #newfantasyland

…and dreaming of what is to come tomorrow when they get to explore another part of the park.

But with all the crowds, and lines, and buses and boats and monorails- all of which accommodated my wheelchair with smiles and ease- nothing beats the moment sitting in my own bed in our family suite where I could reunite Mrs. Jumbo and Dumbo for all time. Making sure Mamma and her baby lived happily ever after.

Mrs jumbo

Even if it took me 38-years.

*Walt Disney World Parks provided travel, accommodations, and media availability for the grand re-opening of Fantasyland, including tickets to park attractions

…In Dreams You Will Lose Your Heartache

Thank you Disney and a special friend who made our weekend possible. Yes, I toured the park in my wheelchair, and once again Disney’s service to myself and my family was second to none.

It remains on my bucket list to be in full remission and to take a DisneyWorld trip sans wheelchair, however if you are disabled, these are the parks for you. The staff is knowledgable on those who can transfer out of their wheelchair to walk a short distance and those who must stay in, or those who can not transfer from their chairs at all. You can also stop in at City Hall on Main Street USA and request special instructions for those with disabilities and even special passes for those with children with autism, Tourette’s, OCD, etc who may have a hard time waiting in long lines. Come with a note from your doctor, just in case, or your handicap info.

But on to the good stuff!!! Some highlights for you:

Count Waffles was THE HIT of Halloweentime - everyone stopped him to take photos with him. He was BEAMING with all the attention the clearly awesome costume brought. He couldn’t believe tourists wanted their photos with HIM. But look at this guy…who wouldn’t?

He's loving all the attention - best costume ever!!! #halloweentime

His sister, on the other hand, was pouting slightly that her ladybug costume (planned to go with his venus fly trap) wasn’t garnering tourist photos…but the bags of chocolate made up for it.

Time to trick or treat!!!!!  #halloweentime

Then there was MY favorite part of the trip…the new Carsland at Disney’s California Adventure. Can I just say OMG?!!!!!! I can’t even put into words how awesome of a job they did. Ok, maybe I am biased because this was the first movie we ever took our kids to…on Father’s Day. At the El Capitan in Hollywood. But, if you ever wanted to stroll down the street with the rest of the Cars in Radiator Springs, you can REALLY DO IT AT Carsland.

This is AMAZING!!!! @disneyland #carsland

With Carsland conquered (we all won the Piston Cup, btw) and my body having had enough- It was time to do what I do best at Disney…soak in the fun with my family and just watch them do things that make them grin from ear to ear.

There are these moments that just don’t come all the time, especially when your husband is always upset by traffic and his commute, the kids are always busy with homework and now sports schedules. and getting healthy for me has become a full time job…with nothing but treatment and doctor appointment after doctor appointment. always seem to make me smile, no matter how horrible I might be feeling.

A wish is a dream your heart makes #halloweentime

…and the perfect night lights to make sure you sleep well. Afterall, a dream IS a wish your heart makes…and boy, do I have some dreams right now.

The nightlight for the kids makes me actually cry happy tears. @disneyland

*disclosure, we were given media passes to attend the events at Disneyland and comp’d a hotel room for one night. Disney has given us Halloween media tickets for many, many years running and we haven’t missed one yet. I would BUY these tickets on my own to attend, we genuinely love it that much. In other words, all opinions are here are true.

These Eyes…

I know it’s cliche’… but there really is joy in childhood. Moments where grins are full-on smiles and laughing isn’t just laughing but giggles and glee.

We took the kids to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory this morning and came face-to-face with the many components of the Mars rovers. Yes, THOSE Mars rovers…the ones that the kids have only watched 3,000 times on the documentary that is now so worn it doesn’t play.

There were smiles, giggles, and glee.

The kids are on mars!

Magic

Meet BooBoo Kitty.

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BooBoo Kitty (and you have to say the whole thing, not just Boo or Boo Boo, it’s BooBoo Kitty) and I met many, many years ago on one of the many, many Spring Breaks I spent with my grandmother, aunts, and cousins, and family in Florida.

Every year we headed off to the greater-Orlando area and every year my Grandmother would spoil me rotten. BooBoo Kitty was one of the many “under the table” gifts my Grandma slipped me when the other kids weren’t looking.

We were at Disney World, sitting near a tree. And it was a “shhhhh, don’t show anyone” peak into a bag that contained the whitest, pink bow-y-est, make-a-girl happy kitty in the world.

I then spent my entire childhood with this stuffed cat. It was comfort. It was girly. It was Grandma love. It was magic.

Of course BooBoo Kitty was slightly tainted because my Uncle had named her. He was making fun of me for being so attached and playing off Shirley from Laverne and Shirley, he named the cat for me. But it didn’t matter. She was my BooBoo Kitty and she meant magic. She brought me back to the bench by the tree and the “you are special” feeling that was instilled.

When you’re little, a Grandma gift at Disney World is pretty much the best thing ever.

Which is my round-about way of telling you we’re going to Disney World next week and I have every intention of making some magic.


*in light of recent discussions I wish to disclose that after this post was written I spoke with Disney PR and was offered media passes to the park. I did not blog about Disneyworld after, in order to remain above the board and not write advertorial content. I, instead, twittered my experience at Disney in which I had planned, paid for, and previously expected to, other than media passes to the parks. In my twitters I acknowledge Disney PR’s assistance.

Snow!

What? It’s a novelty for us. We live in Southern California. Humor me.

My angels

Too Wired?

Oh no, I don't have gamer kids at all /eyeroll

My children can easily open a web browser and play games. They can turn on the Wii, the DS, and will ask me to find them the ‘blahblahfill-in-the-blank.com’ they heard about on tv.

They are 3 and 5- years old.

Mom and Dad both use their computers for work and play. So laptops are always open and it’s just a way of life for the adults, so it stands to reason it’s a way of life for the children in the house.

Is this the new standard for families or are we entirely too plugged in?

Don’t get me wrong, there is a very healthy amount of NON-wired play around here. Legos, dolls, imagination run rampant.

So why do I feel guilty when they do plug in?

Is that a throwback to some bygone era where this wasn’t commonplace? Leftover guilt akin to my mother telling me I was sitting too close to the television?

If they are monitored, if their time is monitored, if it’s all well and good…why am I even questioning their wired lives when everything comes with a .com?

Perhaps it’s just like everything else in motherhood: am I doing this right? That nagging, never ending feeling in the back of your brain that you can be better, try harder.

Or maybe we just need to go for a walk.

Formality

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That’s my 3-year old curtsying. Or if you prefer, kirtsying.

She’s informed me she’s now going to only wear dresses and only ‘act like a princess.’ Because this family is going to Disneyland on Saturday.

I wonder if I can still curtsy.

$20 says I fall on my ass.