Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas 2019

Wishing you a joyous, blessed, and magical Christmas!

The gift of love, the gift of peace, the gift of happiness...may all these be yours at Christmas and in the year to come. I pray that this Christmas has been filled with all the wonder and magic the season has to offer!

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

How Christmas Saved The Grinch 2019

Throughout my life, I've enjoyed being a part of various musicals and holiday productions, even drama club when I was in high school. Although I can't sing (like at all) or dance (I do dance better than I sing), crowds never bothered me and I do memorize things fairly well. My enjoyment of the stage goes way back, to when I was 11 years old. Our former church was doing a children's Christmas production called "Twinkle and the All-Star Band". As a random chance happening, I was given the lead role of Twinkle, and that's where my love for it all began.

Fast forward to three years ago. Our church was hosting a Christmas production entitled "How Christmas Saved The Grinch", a spin on the typical Grinch stealing Christmas story. It was their third year to perform and I was having major FOMO. After the production was over, I approached our children's pastor's wife and told her if she ever needed any adult extras in the production, I would be more than happy to help. Well, enter 4th year of the Grinch (2018) and yes, I was given a role as an extra. I. Loved. It!

Although the story of Jesus is sprinkled throughout our production, it's not over the top and several years back, the local public schools began coming out as an optional field trip on the Friday of production week. They even have a chance to take a picture with Mr. Grinch and the cast after the production is over, which they love! Last year, we had almost 3,000 kids at our Friday performance and this year (our 5th year), we had almost 2,000!

I'm getting ahead of myself, though.

Rewind to August of this year. I received a phone call from our children's pastor's wife that the lady who had played Betty Lou Who for the past 4 years was stepping down and she wanted to know if I was interested in having her part. I was incredibly honored and knew I had a big role to fill, especially when someone had been in that role for so many years. I said yes and reminded her about my singing and dancing abilities again. Thankfully, no singing had to be involved (with just my voice alone) and only minimal dancing.

So, last weekend was the 5th year to perform "How Christmas Saved The Grinch" and it was a smashing hit! In total, around 3,000 (ish) people were in attendance!

I also knew I wanted to take that role and make it my own. Throughout the five years, many different cast have played many different parts and each had their own unique spin on their characters. I set out to do just that.

Backstage was a flurry of activity once it became time to start getting dressed. About 75% of these costumes are hand sewn which blows my mind!

This table was once organized by characters and buckets but this is the aftermath! Hah!

My friend Mackenzie has played the part of the Narrator for the past 5 years and she always does an amazing job!

Time for noses! If you want to see the entire process of costuming and makeup, check out the Vlogidays video at the bottom of this post. :)

Almost ready!

The Grinch might have driven to McDonald's like this! The manager remembered him from last year and asked for a picture! Hah!

A little more behind the scenes of the cast...

You might remember the orange dress pictured here? That was my costume from last year!

Brayden was quite intrigued by my nose!

Playing the part of Betty Lou Who meant I was also the mom of Cindy Lou. :)

This was the closest Brayden would get to Mr Grinch!

We were trying to take a picture and we were photobombed by both the Grinch and one of our husbands! Haha whoops!

After Friday's performances were over, we decided to get shakes from Chick Fil A, makeup and all. It was rather hysterical if I do say so myself!

...and that's a wrap on How Christmas Saved The Grinch for 2019. Although we were sleep deprived, it was an amazing weekend filled with lots of wonderful memories! Until next year....

If you're interested in seeing the process of creating a "Who", check out the video above.

Have a fabulous day!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2019 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

Last month, I participated in the 10th Anniversary of the Wine & Dine Half Marathon. I had so much fun running throughout the parks and loved running a different race route from the typical Princess and Marathon Weekend!

At first I wasn't going to dress up for this race at all, but then I remembered I had a costume already made from a friend's birthday party (years ago), so I went with it!

What team? Wildcats!

We stayed at Pop Century during this race weekend and when I arrived at the bus stop, there were buses galore!

In no time, we were at the starting area. Since I was a bit early (the corrals weren't open yet), I stood around and listened to the guys on stage. Y'all, they were cracking me up about the hummus vs cheese in the post-race boxes from the 10K the day before!

Yay! That's me!!

I was happy I arrived early because I was able to jump right in the front of the corral once it opened. Another favorite of this race weekend? Not having to walk a mile to the corrals before starting the race! WIN!

The theme for this race was colonial Mickey and I LOVED it!

Before I knew it, it was time to run. We were off!

I knew my IT Band was going to be an issue here, so I made up a game plan of doing run/walk intervals throughout the course. Another idea was to run the straight parts of the course and walk the curves/inclines. Oh yes, and stop for characters, of course!

The first character I spotted was Louis and although I already have a photo with him, his line was super short so I stopped!

Lotso was out on the course too which was a first for me! Yay!

The Mickey golf cart was out there as a filler without characters or a photographer, so a lovely race volunteer took our photos! She was so sweet and told us she doubled as a photographer (for real) on the side!

Around mile 3, the IT Band was really starting to bother me. I stopped at every single medical tent to pile on the BioFreeze. The fully stocked medical tents are something I honestly appreciate about runDisney and haven't seen at other race events. You need BioFreeze mid-race? It's at every medical tent in a huge pump bottle.

Life. Saver. Seriously.

Before long, we were at our first park - Animal Kingdom!

If you're wondering what a typical character line looks like, there you go! I didn't wait in line for Russell as I already have a photo with him, but you can see the crowd there. Thankfully, although these lines look really long, they actually don't take much time at all to get through!

Into Animal Kingdom we go!

As the sun rose, it became easier to see people's outfits and for real, people were cracking me up with their "Wildcat" cheers! I LOVED it! One girl even asked to take a picture with me as she said High School Musical was one of her favorite movies! So fun!! (I'm just glad people recognized the outfit!)

I. Was. So. Excited. To. See. Kevin!!!

This race course took us through Pandora. Although I've visited Pandora, I've never actually run through Pandora, so this was a very cool experience!

The sunrise over Animal Kingdom was absolutely beautiful! Seeing the sunrise was a big change for me with the Wine & Dine Half as I haven't run this race since it switched over from being a night time event.

Running through Animal Kingdom made me smile because it reminded me of the last time I ran the full marathon during Dopey a couple of years ago!

Another new-to-me stop were Chip and Dale in Dinorama! Of course I had to stop here, too!

After looping through Animal Kingdom, it was time to say goodbye! We ran out behind Animal Kingdom which led to a pretty nifty view of the backside of Expedition Everest.

Almost half way!

Running to Hollywood Studios was pretty much all highways without anything spectacular going on. I do have to say that I love Disney's overall immersive theming, though. Growing up, I was a huge fan of the Yankee Doodle Mickey album and I'm not even joking - they kept playing songs from that album throughout the course! It seriously made me so happy! If you haven't heard that album, you should look it up. It's so cute for kids and full of patriotic songs with Mickey and friends!

As we approached Hollywood Studios and mile 10, my IT Band really began to act crazy. It started shooting these sharp pains down my leg and into my foot. Remember my plan of walking the curves and running the straights? Yeah, well I guess I never really noticed before, but there weren't many "straight" parts of this course. The roads either banked right or left or went up or down. I finally found a walk/run pattern of some sort that worked for me and just went with it!

I loved how there was specialty signage near mile 10 for the 10th Anniversary of this race weekend! Fun times!

Our time running through Hollywood Studios was seriously SO short. Jason and our friends were planning on visiting the park that day and just so happened to be in the vicinity. They found a spot right after security and camped out while waiting on me to run by. I figured they would be waiting a while but no - we literally ran down Sunset Boulevard for 30 seconds and turned out near Once Upon a Time...

...which meant my friends and family were literally only waiting for maybe 5 minutes for me to run by! Perfect timing!

After leaving Hollywood Studios, we ran along the Boardwalk towards Epcot.

Team Daisy was there to cheer us on!

We looped through the back of Epcot and around World Showcase...

...where we hit mile 12!

I almost missed Lady Liberty with her 10th Anniversary sash - I'm so glad I spotted her before it was too late!

There were a few characters out and about in World Showcase, so I stopped for some pictures.

Honest John and Gideon from Pinocchio...

...and Dopey from Snow White, of course!

The Big Bad Wolf was also out and about for pictures and this one holds a funny story. 

As a child, I was super scared of the Big Bad Wolf. Like so scared I wouldn't go anywhere alone. Yes, I realize it's ridiculous, but I was a kid. It has also become kind of a running joke with my family as of late. So, as an adult, the first time I saw Big Bad at a Not So Scary Halloween Party several years back, I had to do a double take and kind of giggled at the stupidity of my childhood fear. (But I never stood in a line for a picture.) I knew when I saw him here (for the first time ever at a race), I just had to get that picture. 

I sent it to my husband, brother, mom, and dad with the tag line "No longer scared..." :)

Oddly enough, this was the final character stop on this race course!

Just like that, the finish line was near!

Mile 13! Despite the ridiculous IT Band pain, I made it!

Another runDisney Half Marathon and Challenge done!

I didn't hang around long after this one because I knew my people were all at Hollywood Studios and I wanted to join them as soon as possible.

However, I did take time to eat a little breakfast before then! The Mickey waffles were worth every bite!

I run for Disney food, seriously!

Did you run in this Wine & Dine Half? If so, what were your thoughts on the race? Did you enjoy it? Like the course?

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