Did They Live Happily Ever After?

The opinions expressed below about The Princess Problem are my own. I was not given anything or asked by anyone to read or review this book. I happened upon this book when I read an article here

So I finished the The Princess Problem and returned it to the library. I mentioned it in my post here. That was actually quick for me. I guess it is the time limit with the library and all that puts a fire under me. That and I was very interested in the subject matter. I’m currently in the middle of two other books and my magazines are stacked up pretty high now.

You might be wondering why I’m writing about this and how it ties in with my other posts. Well having kids has been a dream of mine for a while and like most parents I don’t want to screw them up. Then there is the kind of races my husband and I like to do. Going to Disney races and the parks exposes us all to all kinds of consumerism and fandoms. We want to be smart about it.

I saw the title of the book in the article and thought that it was such a wonderful coincidence that one of my recent posts was about princesses. I decided to read The Princess Problem, and I would say overall it was a good book. It gave me a lot of things to think about when my kids watch TV or movies. It had some good points for both girls and boys. I think I mentioned before that I think I was blessed with boy/girl twins. I think that it really helps with balance. That is not to say there are not issues. I actually thought that we were all good here with the princess thing until my daughter told me one day all she wanted to be when she grew up was a princess. However when my son listed off the different things he wanted to be when he grew up, my daughter chimed in on how much she wanted to help with his endeavors. He wants to have a farm with a playground that has a building where you can get your teeth fixed and shop for books while you wait. When you are done you can eat the food grown at the farm at the restaurant and listen to live music. Sounds good to me!

I like some of the children books and shows Dr. Hains recommends in her book. I looked up several of the books at our local library. We are currently reading Not All Princesses Dress in Pink and Shades of People. I have a lot of others on my “For Later” shelf with my library. We like both of these books. We check out anywhere from eight to fifteen books at a time. My kids LOVE books especially my son. I try to touch up on some issues I want to expose them to and then they always play in the kids area at the library for a bit. They always find some books they want on their own. When they find a good one I just can’t refuse them.

You may be wondering about the Shades of People book and how it ties in with the princess problem. Dr. Hains doesn’t just hit gender roles but she also talks about racism in the princess world. My kids go to a preschool at our church and it is quite diverse I am happy to say. The kids haven’t had any issues so far. I think that preschool has been great for them.

When I first started to read The Princess Problem I was worried it was going to tell me that I need to dress my daughter in all grey and promote only neutral toys and activities. I wasn’t for that. I want my daughter to be herself if that means she likes pink (which she does) or if she likes black, green or any other color that exits, then so be it. So I liked this quote from the book. I posted it once before and I want to post it again.

The goal is not to persuade girls that princesses are bad or to “de-princess” them. Rather, it is to help girls reason through the problems with princesses and see that there are many other ways to be a girl – to help unfetter their imaginations and help them dream a multiplicity of dreams.

I liked that. I grew up like that. I had Barbies but I didn’t want to look like her. I just thought the doll was fun. I would put a few in a bag and throw them over my shoulder so I could have my hands free to climb trees. Once safely perched on a branch some of my Barbies would climb tall “buildings” to sneak in and steal jewels while the other Barbies would investigate the crime. They would eventually crack the case and catch the cat burglars (I think my imagination was inspired by watching a lot of Remington Steele with my parents. I love me some Pierce Brosnan).

I also liked Dr. Hains’ suggestion about being a good “pop culture coach.” When I think about it my Mom did this. She would always make comments to us kids about the different shows we watched together. She did a lot of co-viewing with us.

Recap: Pop Culture Coaching In Four Steps

  1. Identify your family’s values.
  2. Establish a healthy media diet for your children.
  3. Watch and talk about media content with your children.
  4. Teach your children about media creation.

Now with twins or higher order multiples (triplets or higher) we worry about socializing our kids just like anybody else. We sometimes forget though that our kids need other friends. They were kind of born with a built-in best friend, but just like singleton children, all siblings need friends outside the family. It is nice I have a boy and a girl so it doesn’t seem unusual to them to play with someone of the opposite sex. However with us, it is a nice change of pace to actually play with someone of the same-sex. I was happy to see this line in the book. It made me really happy that my kids can play so well together and enjoy some of the same things.

Having friendships with the opposite sex in childhood makes us better romantic partners later on – better able to understand and relate to one another.

Again, I thought of my Mom. She is a bit of a geek. She loves Dune, Star Trek, Star Wars, Twilight Zone, etc. I grew up loving Star Wars and Star Trek. I never even knew there was any kind of rivalry because we loved both in our house. My Mom also loved fantasy and sci-fi books. She read all the Dune books. She loves Robert A. Heinlein and Terry Brooks. I think sometimes geeks have an easier time with relating to each other due to the love of the fandom. My husband and I went to see Suicide Squad on my birthday at my request. Let me tell you, he had no problem with that.

My son’s favorite color is dark purple. He likes coloring his toe nails his favorite color and why not? It is fun. My daughter likes to sword fight with my son and she likes playing with my son’s Hulk and Spider-man dolls. She has some super hero girl dolls but she still likes playing with the boy dolls as well. By boy dolls I don’t mean dolls that are meant for boys. I mean dolls that are male. I’m happy to say that they share a lot of each others toys. We did recently give them their own rooms. When I separated the toys I did not think of gender so much. I thought more about what each child likes. I actually left some girl dolls in my sons room that I knew he liked. My daughter likes Legos better so she got them. I also told them to be sure to still share.

Since I do have twins I would like to touch on the “alpha twin.” There seems to always be one no matter what sex the set is. If you ask any member of my multiples group with boy/girl twins I’m sure every single one will tell you that the girl is the alpha twin. I’m not saying that is true for everybody but just me and the club members I’ve talked to so far. These girls always seem to know how to be strong get attention in their own unique way. That isn’t to say the boys are not strong. They are. I guess the best way to describe it is that each child can “hold their own.”

I did not one hundred percent agree on the interpretation of some of the Disney stories in The Princess Problem. One of my favorite classes in college was creative writing. We would write a story and turn it into the teacher with a disc for him to print off several  copies for everyone in the class to read. During class we would dissect the story and talk about what it meant to us. I wrote a sci-fi/horror story one time. I wanted to discuss moral issues and just the sheer horror and grossness of the science experiment in the story. Some of my classmates saw more political undertones that I had never even considered. At the end of class the author had the option to reveal themselves to the class or stay anonymous. I always liked to reveal myself to discuss some more of the topics that I did not intend to put in my story. It was very interesting and eye-opening when it comes to writing something and putting it out for the world to interpret.

Now with that said, I have to say if you go looking for a problem you are almost always going to find one. Beauty and Beast for instance is not one of the stories I saw that had a big problem. I always thought that the witch or fairy changed the prince into a beast because even though he was a handsome prince, he was ugly on the inside. She wanted to teach him a lesson by making his outside match his inside. If he changed enough on the inside to get someone to love him, the curse would be broken. Belle comes along and even though the Beast was socially awkward due to his appearance, he had changed for the better with the help of his staff who was also cursed. Now to paraphrase what was in The Princess Problem, because I forgot to get a screen shot before I turned the book back into the library, the Beast was verbally and emotionally abusive until Belle came along to help change him for the better. Basically the theory is that the story is sending a message that a good girl can change a bad boy. So girls will stick with an abusive boyfriend in hopes that he will change. Honestly I never saw that in the story. I guess I can see how one could interpret it that way. I suppose that is why we have to be careful. I can co-view with my children and give them my interpretation of it or say nothing and hope they see the same thing.

I enjoyed reading the book and I liked all the resources Dr. Hains listed. If you want to learn more I’m sure you can purchase the The Princess Problem from Amazon or get it from your local library. Dr. Rebecca Hains also has a website.

Edit: My daughter now wants to be a Mom who paints.

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A Green Winter Wonderland

I couldn’t believe the weather forecast. Snow! It felt like Spring just a day or so ago. It was in the seventies. This was crazy! I didn’t want to run in snow! I was going to run the race in a green dress too. I tried it on to see if it was doable, but it was still a little snug even with the weight I have lost in the last year. I don’t think I could put anything under it to keep warm. So I had to scrape the dress idea. I hate the cold so much. At least the Westport St. Patrick’s Day run wasn’t at the butt crack of dawn. That would have been even colder.

The Hash House Harriers were still talking about a run later that day from the same part of town. One of the runners was doing the race and wanted to lay a trail from the same area since we would be out and about anyway. In case you don’t know, the Hash is a “drinking club with a running problem.” I wanted to do both runs, but I wasn’t sure Hubby wanted to with all the ball games going on that afternoon.

The day of the race we finally found the parking garage that was recommended in our race guide. We tried to find it last year with no success. So we just parked along one of the side streets. This year we found it and there were hardly any cars in the garage. We picked a spot next to a door and hoped we were okay. We didn’t pick up our packet the day before because it was in Westport and since the race is later in the morning we just got up a little early to get it that morning. No sense in making two trips out that far. I think a lot of people had the same idea because the packet pick-up line was pretty long. Thank goodness they were working quick inside to get us all through.

We went back to our car to drop off some of our stuff and put on our race bibs. We didn’t take their pins. We have too many at home. I had some in the car. We were shocked to see the numbers of cars that appeared once we were back out at ours. Apparently we got there early enough to beat the rush!

After we were ready, we went to Kelly’s Westport Inn. The hashers were meeting there. We went upstairs which is where we were last year. It was totally empty. The bar was shut down as well. We spotted them in the back when we went back down the stairs. There was only one couple there at that time. Hubby said something about doing an Irish Car Bomb. We did one before the run. I kept thinking how crazy we were for running in a race in the snow.

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The start of the race

We met up with some other hashers outside of Kelly’s and took off down the race route. I didn’t see any of them until the end. Hubby realized that he is faster than me at the beginning and I usually catch up to him at the end. So thankfully we ran our own race and I finished maybe a minute or so behind him.

My first mile was super rough. I looked down thinking I was at least a mile and half in but my Garmin said I was barely at a mile. I turned it on before I passed the starting line. I gave myself a pep talk. The first mile is usually the worst in just about any run I do. After the first mile it seems to go faster. My first mile was 12:04 minutes per mile. That used to be a normal pace for me. My pace now is more around 11:45. My second and third mile were much better. I’m not sure if I was just trying to get out of the cold or what but they were 10:09 and 10:05. That is really good for me. My goal is to get to a ten minute mile.

I remembered that the people who gave out Bloody Marys and beer were usually right before the last big hill. I pushed it a bit and made that last mile 9:33! That is really good for me. The people handing out the Bloody Marys and beer must have been scared away by the cold because they were not there. So of course I had to have a Bloody Mary when we got back to Kelly’s.

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The finish line after we checked out some vendors and got some refreshments.

My time on my Garmin was 42:57 for 4.11 miles. My official time was 40:23 for 4 miles. Like I said, I started my Garmin before the start line. We spent the rest of our time at Kelly’s before the Hash run. Several people started to show. The snow didn’t scare everybody away after all. We were supposed to leave and get something to eat, but someone got some kind of mini calzones for everybody. We had some more drinks and Jello shots. Of course I over did it a little because I don’t go out like that very often.

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Snow!

The time came to leave the bar and run again. The cold didn’t spoil my fun since I was already somewhat used to it. I had on my fleece since we were doing a lot of walking. I forgot to turn my Garmin on but I did my Charity Miles for both the race and the Hash run/walk. I think we did about three miles on the Hash run.

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More snow!

It was a full day of running in the snow. My in-laws had just got back into town the day before our race. So they had not seen the kids in about a week. They were happy to watch the kiddos for us. I think we forgot to tell them how long we would be out that day though. Next year I must have a better game plan for the adult refreshments. I’m not twenty anymore.

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Here Come The Boys

So if you have been following along with my blog you will remember our big trip in January 2016 to Florida. We did a lot of character meals, but we never saw a single prince at the restaurants. It looks like things are changing with this character meal at Trattoria al Forno.

I so hope we can do this character meal the next time we save up enough to go back to Florida. My son enjoyed Cinderella’s castle, but he did not get a picture with Cinderella because he wanted the prince there as well. Having said that, we saw Kristoff and a few other fellows in the park but they are not as present as the princesses and animal characters. This will be a nice change.

Now I spoke about a book I started reading, The Princess Problem. I’m still not done. Like I said, I have issues with time. I am enjoying it so far. The first part wasn’t just for parents with little girls. It give you ideas on how to be a media savvy parent for any child. I’ll let you know more about it later. It is funny how I see this subject pop up a lot in every day life now. The new character meal, for instance, excited me because it wasn’t all about the princesses. I hope this is a new trend that lasts at Disney.

 

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Don’t Say The P Word

I debated on whether to post this or not. I’m sure there will be a ton of people who disagree with me. I know you can’t please everybody, but really, since when did the word princess become so awful? When did princess become such a derogatory  word?

A friend of mine shared an article from another mommy blog a long time ago. I read it and thought, “Man, this chic has issues.” I don’t think feminism has to be so black and white. Just like there are some bad feminazis there are also some stereotypical princesses. People. . . we are a bit more complex than that. I mean whatever happen to don’t let “one bad apple spoil the whole bunch” or “never judge a book by its cover”?

As you can guess from my other posts and few pictures I have of my daughter, I have no big problem with Disney or Disney princesses. With that said, this mommy bog I mentioned not only blasted the fictional kind but the real ones as well. She basically said that real princesses are only baby making machines. Well I don’t know about you but I kind of liked Princess Diane. I think she did a lot of good work. Did she give birth to the next King of England? Yes. She did, but she also did a lot of good along the way. I’m gonna also say that I like Princess Kate as well. I like Queen Elizabeth I. You know the one who was in power during the Renaissance Period? Yes, yes I know she is mostly referred to as queen, but before she was a queen guess what she was? Yup. She was a princess. Those are just a few of my favorites. I don’t look down on them and call them baby making machines especially since Queen Elizabeth I never had children.

Most of the article seems to point the finger at fictional princesses and what that particular mom felt was going on with people and their children. She seemed to hate to hear parents call their daughters princess. She seemed to associate it with bratty little children who grew up to be entitled twits. My daughter likes Cinderella, Elsa, Moana and Leia. So I’m going to address those as well as a few others.

Now Cinderella is old school. I kind of lump her in with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. These movies are all supposed to take place a long, long time ago when arranged marriages were quite common especially with royalty. Now Cinderella and Snow White didn’t really have arranged marriages, but they did seem to fall in love and marry pretty quick. Sleeping Beauty on the other hand did have an arranged marriage. I’ve watched all these movies with my kids and we talk about them. I don’t just let them watch them and figure it out for themselves. I try to explain what aspects might be true and what is completely fictional like for instance dragons. I tell my children that arranged marriages are mostly things of the past and that we do not do that. Are these my favorite princesses? No. They are a little more stereotypical. Do I shield my children from them? No. I show them all angles.

Now you’ve got the more recent Elsa and Moana. I found it quite funny that Elsa refused to let her sister marry a man right after meeting him. This quick engagement is mentioned a few more times in the movie when Ana and Kristoff talk about Hans. Disney seems to be, in my opinion, making fun of itself and the old school movies. Moana doesn’t even have any man problems except trying to convince a demigod to help her fulfill her destiny to save her people. I mean she seems like a pretty strong female character to me. While we are talking about strong female characters let me move on to Leia.

This is something else that sticks with me. When Carrie Fisher passed I saw so many things on my Facebook news feed. I always loved the Star Wars movies. Princess Leia was a feisty lady who could kick butt and take names. This was awesome especially for the time period when the movie was filmed and released. I wasn’t quit old enough to see the movie when it came out but I saw it years later. I loved it and I loved her character. My favorite TV shows at that time were Wonder Woman and Bionic Woman. I felt like they were strong women as well. Did Princess Leia wear some skimpy bikini in one of the movies? Yes. She did. Does that make her any less of a strong character? No. I don’t believe so. Did Wonder Woman also  wear some interesting costumes? Yes, but please just take a look at all the costumes male or female. These are not exactly the most comfortable looking clothing for most of them. I mean can you really name one hero costume that is not revealing in tightness or skin and looks comfortable? I mean ask any dude if he would like to wear a superman costume? I’m sure every piece of flab he has will show unless he wears the fake chest that sometimes comes with it. I’m sure some people will go on to mention that these super heroes are not great for a little boy’s self-image as well. Yes, they all do seem to have perfect bodies, but they are super heroes. They are either usually alien, been involved in a horrible science experiment, or have enough money to dedicate an entire wing of their house to working out on a regular basis. In one word it is all fiction.

My problem with my news feed when Carrie Fisher passed was how some people thought that just because we referred to her as one of our most cherished characters, we didn’t see the other good that Carrie did. I had one friend talk about her other works like Postcards From The Edge and all the good Carrie did for those with mental illness. Do we really diminish that just because we find joy in her Leia character? I don’t think so, but I guess some people did. I also had a friend share another person’s post that talked about how they would not refer to her as Princess Leia but General Organa. I was fine with how they wanted to cherish the character and what she represented. I just didn’t like how so many were up in arms that some of us still referred to her as Princess Leia. You know for me that was the first time I ever saw Carrie Fisher. That was the first time I fell in love with the character. I just don’t understand this hatred toward the word princess.

I understand there are people on either side of the spectrum. Do you know what a princess, a politician and a principal all have in common besides alliteration? They represent people who are from all different walks of life. Some are good people, and some are crooked. Some are selfish and some are giving.

My daughter asked one time if she was my super hero princess. I said she was if she wanted to be. I tried to imagine what a super hero princess would look like and then it hit me. Duh. Wonder Woman was the princess of the Amazons. She was a super hero. I don’t really think my daughter necessarily had her specifically in mind, but if she did I wouldn’t have a problem with it.

I guess I’m also lucky that I had boy/girl twins. I don’t freak out and pull my son away from my daughter when he grabs a Rapunzel doll and starts playing with her. I also don’t frown when my daughter grabs a plastic sword and plays with my son (as long as they are being careful and don’t hurt anybody or break anything). I recently saw this article and totally agree that if a boy wants to play with a doll he can, but I also believe a girl should be able to as well. Please let’s not go from one extreme to another. There is a happy medium.

That article also pointed me in the direction of a book titled The Princess Problem. I’ve just started reading it. I like what is said in the introduction.

The goal is not to persuade girls that princesses are bad or to “de-princess” them. Rather, it is to help girls reason through the problems with princesses and see that there are many other ways to be a girl – to help unfetter their imaginations and help them dream a multiplicity of dreams.

I like it so far. Maybe I’ll come back and tell you more about it later when I finish it. That may be a looooong time from now though. I mean finding time to write blog posts can be very difficult. Most of the time the only books I get to read are The Gruffalo or Moose Tracks.

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You’re A Persistent Cuss, Pilgrim

We did it! Hubby and I both got our Infinity Gauntlet Challenge and Coast to Coast medals despite his pneumonia. What we couldn’t seem to get was some rest. I tried laying down after we cleaned up from the half marathon while Hubby and my brother watched some football. It was Sunday after all. My brother went to Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in Downtown Disney after a while. He was after the newest mug. My husband turned on some Disney cartoons for the kids while I got a little shut eye.

I was beginning to think we were not going to the water park at the hotel at all until the kids begged to go outside. Being a person that loves the outdoors and constantly worrying that I let them watch too much TV, I couldn’t turn them down on that offer. I got up and got everybody in their swimsuits while Hubby laid down for a little shut eye. I got sunscreen on and water park wrists bands. I mean it takes a while to get ready when you have to get three people ready instead of just one.

We got down to the Howard Johnson water park and it looked like a lot of fun. The kids were a little nervous at first, but Baby Girl took off for the water slide a little while later. The only problem is that it was one of those parks that has a bucket that fills up and then dumps water on you. Thankfully it didn’t hit the structure or on the cargo net you climbed to get up to the slide. The water dumped a little bit in front of all of that. Little Man still didn’t like it. By the time I talked him into trying it one of the little kids got behind one of the permanent standing water guns and squirted him. He started to cry and ran off to me. You know what that little brat with the squirt gun did? He followed Little Man and continued to squirt him! I was not happy. Those little brats were even squirting adults. I kept clear of the little brats otherwise I would have told one of them off.

I texted Hubby to see if he was ready to come and play with our kids. Maybe he could get our boy on that slide because I knew he wanted to go down it. Hubby came down and noted how the sun was not really shining on us because of the time of day. We should have came out earlier. Little Man still wasn’t ready to tackle the slide, but he was having fun where the water the shot up around a little plastic turtle. Baby Girl wanted her daddy to slide with her. He went down with her a few times and then they sat in the hot tub for a bit. She loved warming up after the cold water.

Hubby eventually got Little Man on the slide. When he went up the cargo net with Baby Girl he noticed a back way to get in on the slide. There were stairs behind the structure! Unfortunately it was getting really late and really cold. Little Man was so cold to the touch. He hates hot water. So it was a challenge to warm him up in the hot tub. I had to hold him and splash warm water on him. There was no way I could submerge him. He hated it, but he was so cold! We let him go down the slide a few more times after warming him up a bit and then we called it a night.

My brother met us back in the room and we decided to go to the pasta place where they picked up the spaghetti the other night. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant (Edit: The name of the restaurant was Caroline Italian Cuisine). It wasn’t too far from the Howard Johnson. We had a great meal and called it a night. We had a plan for the next day. We would use our Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure. We would ride Soarin’ and a few others missed when we went earlier and then head over to Disneyland to finish up the day. My brother only got two day passes so he would not be joining us.

Yeah, that plan went to pot right off the bat. We made it to the gate in time and finally fought the crowd for Disneyland to a DCA gate. Disneyland’s regular hours is the same time as DCA’s Magic Hour . When we got to the front we were asked if we had our room key. I looked at the lady and said that we had Magic Hour on our tickets. She said that would only be for Disneyland. She asked for my tickets and then showed me the fine print. The only day we could have used Magic Hour was Saturday. Saturday is the day we did the 10K and there was no way we would have had time to do that and get cleaned up for Magic Hour. We would have to have met the kids there with my brother in our smelly wet running clothes. I’ve spent all day in smelly running clothes after some past races. Some times are more tolerable than others, but what was done was done. There was no use in crying over spilled milk (which by the way I have a different way of looking at this saying after spilling several ounces of pumped breast milk).

At least we didn’t have to wait an hour for anything to open. We just turned around and got in the first line for Disneyland. It didn’t seem to take too terribly long to get in this time. I think it was because it was a Monday. I had heard weekends were bad because the local annual pass holders come out to play those days. We spent a good deal of our day in Adventureland and Frontierland.

We got on the Jungle Cruise right off the bat. The kids liked Tarzan’s Treehouse and went in it several times during the day. We got fast passes for Indian Jones and then we got to ride Pirates of the Caribbean pretty quick. It was a bit different from the ride in Florida. We saw the restaurant, Blue Bayou, and Hubby was interested in it. We couldn’t get in there, but we actually got in a Café Orleans later that day. We rode Haunted Mansion which was my son’s favorite ride. He loved to see all the cool stuff they did for Christmas with Jack Skeleton and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.

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Meeting Jack and Sally

The kids haven’t seen The Nightmare Before Christmas. I tried to show them once, but it was too scary. They had a meeting with Jack and Sally. At first Little Man didn’t want to and Baby Girl did. So I took Little Man into the store adjacent to the character meet and greet while Baby Girl and Hubby stood in line. Little Man could see Jack from inside. He decided he wasn’t so scary after all and wanted to meet him. We got some great pictures with our Disney PhotoPass. Come to find out the employee monitoring the front of the line had a twin brother. She was great with our kids. Baby Girl loved talking to her.

We had a nice lunch at Café Orleans where we lucked out with the kids meal. The pasta they served for the kids was spaghetti and not some other shape because you know it matters with preschoolers. We ordered one kids meal. We gave Little Man the spaghetti and Baby Girl ate the chicken. They each got their own drink. Hubby and I shared a Monte Cristo and we each got our own soup. It was a very good experience here.

I knew about Café Orleans because I’ve read some articles on Disney’s Food Blog. I also heard a lot about this “secret” place call Club 33 in the New Orleans section where we were. Sure enough I spotted the door. I just had to take a picture. It is a members only type club.

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Club 33 door

We got in so many rides this day. We rode the Winnie the Pooh Ride. Hubby and I got on the Indian Jones ride with our fast pass. I was a goofy ball and waited at the entrance instead of over in the family switch area. Hubby took the kids to the tree house again while I took my turn at Indian Jones. The whole time I was on the ride I kept thinking that it would have been safe for the kids, but they might not have been able to see. That might be why they have some of the height requirements. It is not just for safety but enjoyment. I also kept thinking the Mummy ride at Universal was more fun.

We went back to Fantasyland and rode the Alice In Wonderland Ride, the Snow White Ride, and the Pinocchio ride. We rode Small World at least twice without delay because everybody else was busy watching the parade we saw the other day. We were there just in time for them to light up Small World on the outside. We went down to Toontown and rode the Roger Rabbit ride and explored a bit down there even though it was dark. We rode the roller coaster there twice. We finally got to ride the Storybook boats. The twins are small enough they let them sit at on the front of boat as long as we held them and made sure they stayed seated. This is where there are no seats. They were literally sitting on the nose of the boat. We went back to Tommorrowland and got fast passes for Star Tours. We rode the Buzz ride and then got on Star Tours.

When we got off Star Tours it was like the kids knew the day was done and they wanted one last souvenir. We had already bought a Jack Skeleton Mickey Mouse and a Sally Minnie Mouse, but the kids wanted one more thing before we left. Little Man got a plush Chewbacca, but they don’t make Leia dolls anymore. Baby Girl had to get a Baby Lady dog we saw waaaaay back at the store by the Pooh ride. So we had to of course ride the Pooh ride again.

The fireworks were going off as we were making our way out of the park. That is one thing I had not been missing in California was fighting the crowds getting out of the park. In Florida we close down the parks, but in California we were too tired most days. I’m sure it has all to do with the time zone differences. It was fine though. Just about every night we could see the fireworks from our hotel room. I mean we had a really good view of them from our hotel room.

There were a few lessons learned on this trip. We are night people in Florida and morning people in California (time zone differences). We should have stayed a few extra days in California. We should NOT have gotten the park hopper passes. We should have rested on Thursday then went to the expo on Friday and chilled there. We should have enjoyed the hotel water park Saturday and Sunday after the races. Then we should have spent the first day at the park on Monday then stayed Tuesday and Wednesday to do the other two days at parks instead of leaving. I think that would have made things less stressful even if we would have to stay a little longer. Oh well we still had fun.

We woke up the next morning early like we had been, and we were talking about airport times. We thought we didn’t have to leave until that afternoon, but then my husband had a thought that maybe the time he saw for the flight take off was Central Time. He was right! So our flight was two hours earlier than we thought! I was already cleaning up and packing, but then I had to rush a bit more. We made it to the airport okay with my brother. I was bummed out that we didn’t have time to clean out the refrigerator to give some of our food to the homeless at the bus stop near the hotel. Hubby didn’t think they would want our leftovers, but I thought if they were hungry they would. It would be better than the hotel maids throwing out the food. We didn’t leave a whole lot, but still I felt that some of those people at the bus stop looked like they could use it.

We made it back home and the kids excitedly showed their toys to their grandparents. They told them about the whole trip. Hubby was feeling better but over the next few days he seemed to get bad again. I hope it isn’t something in Kansas City air that is aggravating his condition. It could be some allergen or something. I really REALLY hope it isn’t something in our house! He is still okay, but he isn’t one hundred percent yet.

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A Super Duper Half

I was the first one awake again, but this time Hubby got ready at about the same time I did. I don’t recall him doing his breathing treatment, but I do remember he didn’t feel as sick as the previous day. My brother woke up before we left and told us a bit about his night out with some of his friends. Two friends he didn’t realize were acquainted with each other ended up showing up together at one of the places they visited that night. My brother seemed to have had a good time catching up to his old friends. I believe he was ready for the morning with the Littles.

We headed out of the hotel and crossed the street when I realized Hubby had his hat but no sunglasses. I had mine that morning because I knew the half marathon would take longer than the 10K we did the previous day, and I would need them toward the end when the sun was up in full force. Hubby decided not to go back and get his sunglasses. He was afraid they would slide off his hat for the first part of the race when he didn’t need them.

I joined Hubby in corral D. If you read the previous post I did on the 10K you’ll know that my husband is usually in a corral ahead of me, but our last qualifying half marathon I was ahead of him for a change. So when I entered our proof of time, that put me in a corral ahead of him.

Again I noticed the awesome costumes while we were waiting for the start of the race. I was Spider Woman and Hubby was Captain America. We were surrounded by superheroes. Makes sense since we were doing the Avenger’s Half Marathon. We actually had a few villains as well. I saw at least one Harley Quinn. I loved seeing a few Agent Carters. I thought that was pretty great. The announcer at the start said she saw a Stan Lee. That reminded me of the guy from the 10K. Toward the end of the race I even saw She-Ra. I didn’t get many pictures this day especially since I got some of the characters the day of the 10K

Hubby seemed okay at the beginning. The half marathon started out in the parks right off the bat. We entered the Radiator Springs area at Disney California Adventure which I knew would be beautiful. We didn’t stop as much for pictures this day. We got most of our pictures from the awesome Disney PhotoPass. I still can’t say enough good things about being able to buy all my pictures for the park visits and the races from one company. Hubby and I didn’t stick together long. The last time I saw him until the end was right before the castle. We didn’t get a clear picture the day before so we asked a worker to take our picture that day.

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Our other Radiator Springs picture.

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Hubby with ball cap but no shades.

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Our one picture in front of the castle.

I didn’t put my sunglasses on until we were well out of the parks. When we went over one bridge the sun was blaring and I thought that Hubby was not going to have a good time with that. A ball cap can only do so much especially if the sun is just starting to come up for the day.

I saw people running under the bridge and I thought that I would be down there soon, but boy was I wrong. We didn’t go back under the bridge until after we made our rounds in the Angel’s stadium. It reminded me a bit of our Royals 5K running around the parking lot and then into the stadium itself.

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Entering Angel’s Stadium

I saw some people dressed as superheroes as we were going into the parking lot of the stadium but they were on the other side of the divider for the road. I knew we would be going right by them on the way out the stadium. I figured I could have my fun then. We ran on the outside part of the parking lot first. There were people lined up a good ways away from our race markers. I was surprised to see a ton of people dressed in 20’s garb. I’m not sure why there were dressed up like that but it was awesome. I saw one lady do a big curve to go out and high five the people dressed in the 20’s costumes. I kind of wanted to do that, but I got lazy and decided they were too far away from me.

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People dancing in 20’s costumes

It was about this time I believe I started to dedicate miles. I dedicated one to my husband for being out there with me in the first place. The next mile would be my brother’s mile for his help with everything during the weekend. I knew if I had a chance to goof off I would do it for his mile.

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Hubby in the Angel’s Stadium

Now I mentioned how irritated we were when one guy messed up our picture in front of the castle on the 10K. Well I saw a line of people inside the field of the stadium. They were offering high fives and if you read any of my other posts you know if given the chance, and if I’m not being lazy, I’m a high five slut. I gave them all a big high five. Then all of a sudden I saw a dude with a Captain America shield. I was going to fist bump it until I realized he was posing and not offering high fives. He had asked one of the high five people to take his picture in the stadium. He was a runner! I may or may not have messed up his picture. I don’t know. I hope I didn’t. Funny thing is that later when I saw all my photos I saw a girl behind me in the stadium that was showing off her “guns” and boy did she have some nice guns. All I did to act goofy for my brother’s mile was raise my arms. Her face and all was visible so I don’t think I messed up the photo too bad. I hope she got a good shot. Basically my lesson learned here is to just run and smile. I do better photos that way. Some people like the lady with the “guns” can pull off those fun pictures, but not me. I do better with a simple smile.

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Yes, the lady behind me has it going on and I just messed up her picture being “goofy.” Sorry!

The superheroes outside the stadium were awesome. They were not Disney employees but civilians that decided to dress up and meet to cheer us on outside the stadium. I high fived a few including Spider Man of course. I gave The Thing a fist bump. He had these enormous fake Thing hands. These people were great. They really helped pump me up for the rest of the race!

The next mile was for my daughter. I was about to make it under the bridge and I saw a sign that there was a brewery nearby. I hoped it wasn’t too far off the route. I thought it would be cool if they were giving free samples, but there was nothing. I doubt they were even open at that hour in the morning.

The next mile was for my boy. I was getting closer to the parks by that time. Toward the end I dedicated the last mile to my husband again because I was worried about him. The last tiny bit of the race I dedicated to myself because I knew I would finish.

I made it to the end, got my medal, and went to the challenge tent. They looked up my number and sent me on through to the next person to get my Gauntlet Challenge Medal. Then right after that was a group cutting off the wrist bands for the Coast to Coast Medal. I had three heavy medals on me and walked toward the picture area. There was a nice guy there directing people for the different challenges to the appropriate picture background. I asked if I could wait for Hubby there. The gentleman was more than happy to let me hang there. I called Hubby because I knew he had his headset on him. He only had one more mile to go. I told the gentleman it would be about twelve minutes or so. At one point when the foot traffic got slow he asked what challenges we did.  I told him we did the Goofy Challenge and mentioned that I was worried about my husband because he basically still had pneumonia. I stayed and listened to the gentleman say the same thing over and over again to the runners to direct them to the right place.

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We got a Coast to Coast photo but we forgot to get a Gauntlet Challenge one.

I finally saw Hubby come through as my watch buzzed to let me know my brother sent a text congratulating us. We got our Coast to Coast pictures but we forgot to get our Gauntlet Challenge one. Once we were through with the Challenge photos we went to the main stage area to get our Avenger’s Half Marathon photo. We also went to shop for some shirts in the merchandise tent. They didn’t have the Coast to Coast shirts there but we did buy some other shirts. We sat down and ate some of the goodies we got and figured we would walk around the Disney park instead of going through Downtown Disney to get to our hotel.

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Here is our half marathon photo. The sun was out full force by now.

If you read my post about the Doctor Strange 10K then you know we had a really hard time getting through all the foot traffic through Downtown Disney to our hotel. It was super frustrating. The trip around the park added about 1.4 miles to our half marathon. It was slow going. Hubby didn’t train much and he was sore. Our medals clanged on our chests as we walked along the sidewalks. We got a good look at some construction going on at Disneyland. It felt nice and warm outside. This was going to be a rest day for us when we got back to the room. I kind of thought the kids would like the water park at the hotel after we showered and rested a bit.

When we got back to the room we showed off our medals to my brother. He had tracked us again with the runDisney emails. That is how he was able to text us when we were done. We traded off stories and showered. The rest of our vacation was just that now: a vacation.

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Soarin’ and Slidin’

So after the Doctor Strange 10K our family park day started off with breakfast at Mimi’s Café. They had a deal where my brother and husband still got a discount on breakfast the day after Veteran’s Day. It was a good breakfast. The adults had different mimosas. I think I had the triple berry mimosa. My husband and brother had the mango mimosa and the white peach. We sampled them all but I drank most of the triple berry. I had never eaten at Mimi’s before this trip and I have to say I think it is pretty good.

We got through security a lot faster than after the race and got in line for the parks. The lines were shorter because it was Disney California Adventure and not Disneyland we wanted to enter. DCA had also been open for a little bit. Once inside we started off waiting in line for the special credit card customer, character visit. My brother went off to see about Soarin Over California fast passes. The park had been open less then half an hour and yet the return visit for the ride was after 8 PM! He got them anyway. The line for the character visit took a while which surprised me. It is supposed to be a special thing for Disney credit card customers but it seemed just as slow as other character lines.

We got to the front and was told that Stitch was there but he was leaving and would return later. The next character was Daisy Duck. I told them that was fine. I knew my kids would be fine with Daisy. About that time I saw people behind me had on Stitch hats. Yeah, they were not happy when they saw Stitch leave. My kids where excited to see Daisy. Baby Girl ran up to her and gave her a big hug. Little Man did not want to have much to do with her. Hubby was a little surprised that he would hug big ol’ Chewbacca but not Daisy. We got a good picture with just us and Daisy and one with us, my brother and Daisy.

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Proof that my son did in fact hug a character.

We had a good time. The kids kept talking about riding the mermaid ride that we did at the Magic Kingdom. I didn’t think they would have it in California but sure enough it was at DCA.

Lunch wasn’t too much of a struggle, it just wasn’t that satisfying. We went to the Corn Dog Castle. I got burned out on corn dogs way back before Hubby and I were married. A friend of ours worked at an arena in Oklahoma and would give us all the free corn dogs we wanted. We went to some football games and other events in this arena. So we ate a lot of corn dogs. On the bright side, everybody else except my son was happy. He is a very picky eater. We found some snacks in my bag for him and rode some more rides.

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The kids on one of those spinning rides that make me sick.

We finally made our way to Mickey’s Fun Wheel about around dusk. The line wasn’t too unbearable. Mickey’s Fun Wheel reminded me a little of my favorite ride as a kid. My hometown hosted the county fair every year. There was a ride called the Rock O’ Planes or as we called them, “Squirrel Cages.” This apparently sparked some of the same memories in my brother because he mentioned it while we were on the ride. Everybody seemed to think this ride was pretty fun except Hubby. He got pretty pale. We both agree the rides like teacups that spin around horizontally make us sick, but I’m good on rides that swing or flip vertically. I’m still not sure if he didn’t feel good because he doesn’t like those kind of rides or if it was because of his pneumonia. I tried to ask but he never would give me a straight answer. Just to be clear this ride doesn’t flip you. You can choose a stationary cage or one that slides and swings a little. We got on the one that swings.

We missed Woody because I wanted to ride the Fun Wheel. I felt bad about that. I thought he would still be there, but he was gone. We only got to ride a handful of the rides that we wanted to, but again the two hour difference was still taking its toll on us. We got so tired we didn’t use our Soarin’ passes and ended up giving them to someone on our way out of the park.

The kids seemed to be wilting again. My brother and Hubby needed some provisions. So when we got back to the hotel, they went out in the car while I got the Littles ready for bed. The Littles seemed to hit a second wind for some reason. It was probably good that they did because Hubby came back with spaghetti from a nearby place. One order was enough to feed all four of us. I think Hubby felt better about carbing up as well. Not long after our dinner we got the kids to bed.

My brother used to live in California. So he went out to meet up with some of his friends that night. I got up to go to the bathroom around midnight or 1 AM. He wasn’t back yet. I started to get a little worried. Call it the mom in me, but I was worried he was in an accident  or something. I sent him a quick message for peace of mind that he was okay. He never replied, but thankfully it wasn’t too long after that I heard him come in the room. I was able to sleep much better after that.

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