Friday, October 2, 2020

runDisney Haunted Mansion Virtual 5K

Hi there, friends! New blog post - who dis? 

Yes, it's been a LONG time, but I have very good reason. If you follow me on instagram, then you know that Hurricane Laura hit my home town of Lake Charles, LA as a category 4 hurricane and wreaked havoc everywhere. My initial intention to run the final leg of the runDisney summer virtual 5K series on my birthday (August 27th) changed as that was the day that Laura hit and pretty much ranks up there as one of the worst days I've had in a very long time. 

After returning home a week later, we spent a good bit of time cleaning up our yard and my parent's yard. We also lived at their house for three weeks with a generator, waiting on our electricity to turn back on. It's been an interesting road and one where I've tried to stay positive, but running has been hard for many reasons. 

So, my well laid plans of running the Haunted Mansion 5K on August 27th were altered and instead, the distance was completed on October 1st. Better late than never, right? 

This has been the first week in a while where I felt like I could truly breathe and had a little bit of extra "free" time in the evenings. Last night, Brayden and I set out on our 5K journey together and I felt like our route was fitting for the "theme" of this race - it was daunting with a hint of eerie mixed in. :)


Our start line began in front of the garage (complete with hurricane damage) and our remaining stash of MRE's - perfectly fitting for the three miles ahead! 




As we ran, we encountered a few doggies (thankfully the were on the smaller side), downed trees on the side of the road, tarped roofs on houses, and several friendly faces outside who waved as we passed. 


Trees like this are everywhere and it always amazes me to see - the root ball of the tree was literally ripped out of the ground! The powerful force of hurricanes completely blows my mind.


We reached mile 3 as the sun began to set, among the various debris lined streets.

At a month out from the storm, things around here are slowly starting to improve. Tree trucks make the rounds daily to pick up roadside tree debris. They haven't even started on the other debris yet (shingles, fencing, siding, etc). Although they are working hard, this is going to be a very slow and gradual process. I told Jason that I'm truly learning how to "chill" because I want everything done like a sprint and this will definitely be like a "marathon" to complete. 


Our finish line landed us right back in my front yard, complete with the remains of my fence I worked so hard to stain back in the spring (yes, I'm bitter about it)! 

...and with that, the three part runDisney Virtual 5K Summer Series turned Fall Series is complete! :)

I plan to return (soon) with more stories from our hurricane "adventures" and the cleanup process. This has been one of the most interesting experiences of my life and one I hope we don't have to go through again for a very very long time. 

Have a great weekend! 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Disembarking the Disney Dream & Disney Springs

Well, here we are in August and before we blink, it'll be Christmas time once again! In my thinking and reminiscing about Christmas at the parks, I was reminded that I never finished our November trip recaps, so here's the final one for you today! :)

Although we disembarked the Disney Dream on this day and it was technically our last full day before flying home, we seriously didn't waste a single minute of it! 

We awoke to the sunrise that morning in Port Canaveral and it was beautiful! It was definitely a mix of emotions as we enjoyed being able to split this trip with land and sea, but we were sad to only spend 4 days on board the Dream!

This was our very first time to utilize the pull out couch, so I had to capture our final morning! :)  At least we didn't have "chocolate face" that morning!! Hah!

Breakfast on our disembark day was at Animators Palate and it was nice to be able to say goodbye to our servers.

Something I noticed on our previous cruise were these signs in the hallway, just before boarding the ship and just after disembarking the ship. One side says "Welcome Aboard" when you're walking the hallway towards the ship and the other side says "See You Real Soon" when you're walking away from a ship. What a play on the emotions, huh? :)

For  our trip back to WDW, we used Happy Limo again and everything was great! They text the name of our driver to me while we were eating breakfast and our timing worked out great.

Goodbye Disney Dream!

Something I loved about this trip was the way we split it into pieces. Our first segment was at Walt Disney World for the Wine & Dine Half with a stay at Pop Century. We then boarded the Disney Dream for a four night cruise, followed by a one night stay at All-Star Sports and a trip to the Magic Kingdom for the very first Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party of the season!

All-Star Sports was a new-to-me resort and another one marked off my list!

Although it was not yet updated (like Pop Century) during our trip, I found everything to be in working order and just fine!

 

Our room was located in the tennis section and I thought it was super cute!


After getting settled in our room, we hopped a bus to Disney Springs for lunch at the Polite Pig and to check out the Christmas Tree Trail (both new-to-us experiences)!

Lunch was delicious! Jason, Brayden, and I all split this tray and it was perfect! I'll definitely be back! :)

Even though we were stuffed, we still left room for our trip-tradition, ice cream from Ghirardelli! Note to self, paper straws are terrible with shakes - always pack reusable straws in the future!

We LOVED the Christmas Tree Trail! Everything was so cute and festive! The trees truly reminded me of the old character themed trees in the (now non-existent) Camp Minnie Mickey at Animal Kingdom, these were just on a much larger scale!

See what I mean?! How cute!

I also loved the little extra touches that surrounded the trees.

Take this poster next to the Mulan tree for example!

My husband (who truly earned his magic band name of "bah humbug") said this was his favorite tree of them all. He knows I always go overboard for Christmas, so there's that...

A few of my favorite trees included:

Toy Story

TANGLED!

Fantasia

They were all so cute, it was hard to pick a top favorite.

Remember those magic bands I mentioned? Well, we all decided to order red magic bands for this portion of our trip and theme them with Christmas names (hence Jason's "Bah Humbug")! Mine was Noelle from the soon-to-be-released Disney Plus movie of the same name.

Spoiler alert: the movie did not disappoint!

After leaving Disney Springs, we returned to our room to drop off our purchases and change our shirts for the Christmas party. We were so excited to spend the evening at one of our favorite places during one of our favorite times of the year! If you'd like to check out a recap of our night at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, (and a video recap on YouTube), check out the links below! :)

We loved being able to spend this vacation with our friends and hope to be able to do so in the future. It truly was a wonderful trip, one I'll cherish and remember for the rest of my life!

Thanks for coming along with us! Have a magical day!

Disney Travel Day: Wine and Dine Expo & Animal Kingdom
Disney Day 2: Wine and Dine 10K & Kids Races & Hollywood Studios/Epcot
Disney Day 3: Wine and Dine Half Marathon & Magic Kingdom
Disney Day 4: Boarding the Disney Dream
Disney Day 5: Castaway Cay
Disney Day 6: Nassau
Disney Day 7: At Sea Day
Disney Day 8: Disney Springs and Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Friday, July 31, 2020

runDisney Space Mountain Virtual 5K

On Wednesday, I ran the Space Mountain Virtaul 5K. This 5K is a part of the summer virtual runDisney race series and I will complete it next month with the final race in the challenge.

Setting out to run this race was interesting because I thought I would be fighting the weather, but I wasn't 100% sure how much time I had. Well, about a mile and a half into my run, my fears were confirmed and what started out as a leisurely 5K (sans kid) quickly switched to a "run this thing as fast as possible because those dark clouds are looming!"



My husband snagged a photo of me with the "start line", and off I went!

"Start line selfie", anyone? :)


By mile 1, I was feeling good and keeping a pretty consistent pace. All was well, I had my podcast in my ears, and life was pretty good. Then, I turned the corner and spotted this....


Super dark clouds looming in the distance! It started to lightly sprinkle which got my mile markers a little wet but I knew the big drops were coming!

So, I pressed on and attempted to keep a pretty consistent pace to beat the rain.


By mile 3, I knew I had it and all would be well! I narrowly missed the rain by 2 minutes. After stepping on my front porch and taking a picture with my watch, the bottom fell out from the sky with giant, heavy raindrops...and a lot of them, too!



After checking my stats, I saw that I managed to run negative splits the entire time, thanks to the threat of rain looming in the distance!

Don't get me wrong...I don't mind a rainy/wet run, but I did not want to get stuck in the kind of storm where it's raining so hard you can't see, there's thunder/lightning, etc. Thankfully, that didn't happen for this one!

I hear people are starting to receive their medals for this race series! If you registered for this, have you received yours yet?

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

runDisney Mad Tea Party Virtual 5K

Last week, my friend Melissa and I (along with Brayden and Melissa's dog Tink) completed the first leg of the runDisney Summer Virtual 5K series, the Mad Tea Party 5K! 

With the state of the world as it is, I knew another runDisney event wouldn't be in the cards for me this year, so signing up for this race series was perfect!


We decided to complete the first portion of this race series at Melissa's house. This was a new (to me) route, and we had a lot of fun along the way!


Their neighborhood almost makes a 1 mile loop, so mile 1 hit in no time.

Around the end of mile 2, I noticed something in the water of the ditch alongside the road...


Can you see it? It's a water moccasin and it looked like it had just eaten dinner due to its fat belly!


Naturally, our mile 2 stop had to be taken with the (not so friendly) snake! Yikes!


Needless to say, our mile 3 was just a tad bit faster than the previous two! We were ready to be finished!


Melissa's dog Tink came along for our 5K (which Brayden loved) and had a great time!


Before long, our 5K was complete! I'm so glad we decided to do this together. We can't wait for part 2 and part 3, coming in July and August!

The last time I completed the runDisney summer 5K series was the inaugural year (back in 2016) and I've enjoyed this one just as much as the first! Reading back over part 2 from that race series reminded me about the snake I came across in the grass during that run. What is it about the runDisney summer virtual series and snakes? I'm not sure, but I hope it doesn't happen again!

Did you register for the runDisney summer virtual series? If so, how has your running gone so far?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Brayden's 4th Birthday Party (Cars Themed)

During the COVID quarantine earlier this year, my son turned 4 years old. Originally, we'd planned to back up his party into May which then turned to June. Even though it was 2 months late and super small, he still had a blast and that's what truly matters!


The theme for his party this year was Lightning McQueen! I found a LOT of ideas on pinterest and wanted to share them with you here today.


Ka-chow! Brayden's swim outfit (including shoes) were all from Shop Disney last year.


The idea for our shirts also came from pinterest and I had a friend make them. We loved being a part of this pit crew!


At the entry way table, I included a few pictures as well as an "about me" age 4 print out. I'm not sure how long I'll keep those up, but they've been a fun tradition since his first birthday! Also, the "tires" are inflatable pool floats from amazon. They even got a double use - later in the day, we used them to play on the water slide!


Included in each kids gift bag was a sheet of stickers, a grab & go pack, a little toy car, and a "piston cup". I also threw extra candy from the pinata in there, too!


In the living room, I decided to make banners from my silhouette machine again. The one you see on the TV included symbols from the movie (such as a lightning bolt, a route 66 sign, the number 95, and "4th" in the Cars font). The mantle held the traditional "Happy Birthday Brayden" banner as well as a couple of photos and the "FOUR" letters that were purchased from Hobby Lobby. (Basically, I've been keeping those letters every year, adding the additional ones that I need and repainting them to match the party colors.)


In the kitchen as far as food goes, I tried to be as "COVID cautious" as possible, so every platter included a set of grabbers! If the item could be individually wrapped or bagged, it was.


How cute are these tags? They came from pinterest!


Peep the coffee condiment package in the white bowl! (If you're a Walt Disney World fan, you recognize them!) I knew they would come in handy one day! :)


Coffee and parties at my house go hand in hand!


For the main food, we offered hamburgers and chicken nuggets. Nuggets might be my child's favorite food group.


Throughout the house, I had various photos that were taken between our photographer in October as well as our Disney World trip in February. All of the photos that were framed had something to do with Lightning McQueen. These frames are also the same from his prior birthday parties, I just re-paint them to match the party colors!


I used the front table to hold the cake and cookies! At first I wasn't going to do a helium tank but then changed my mind when I saw that I'd already purchased the foil balloons you see here! (Initially, I'd purchased all of the decor back in March when his party was supposed to be in May, so I couldn't remember all I bought!)

The orange cones were in a box of 8 and I placed them in various locations throughout the house. I also purchased the cones on Amazon.


Our same cake friend from previous birthdays made his cake and I think it turned out adorable! I added the cars pieces (they were from his Christmas advent calendar) as well as the Happy Birthday Brayden banner in the back. The candles were purchased from Amazon.


My friend that made his cookies the past several parties also made these! Aren't they precious?


As an added touch, I thought it would be fun to have the Cars movie playing on the TV (without sound) and the Cars soundtrack playing throughout the house/outside on our Alexa home system! It worked beautifully!


As a final indoor touch, I found these posters from the opening of Cars Land at Disneyland and printed them out!


Since a good majority of this party was set to take place outside, we added a few pieces of decor out there, too!


I know you can't see it well, but there's a big "Ka-Chow" on the fence!


Apart from celebrating with family and friends, the highlight of the party for Brayden was his water slide! Initially, I had plans to let him swim and his friends join him from 11-noon, then stop and do cake, eat, open presents, etc. However, when family started to arrive at 11 a.m., Brayden wanted to get out of the pool and hang out with them. It was his party so we went with it!

 

While waiting for the burgers to finish cooking, the kids took to the trampoline!


Time for presents!


Due to COVID, we sang happy birthday and blew candles out on a cupcake instead of the big cake! Whomp whomp.


This kid is a Paw Patrol fiend! I have a feeling that will be his birthday party theme next year!


Another highlight of this party and something Brayden had looked forward to for a long time was the pinata. He couldn't wait to get to that candy!


After the pinata, it was time to SWIM and boy were they ready! I'm serious when I say that my child did not get off of that water slide from the moment they began swimming at his party to about 6 p.m. that night! It was well worth the money spent to rent it!


After a majority of the kids all left, the adults hopped on the slide with Brayden for a little fun! I seriously loved this thing!!


At the end of the day, it was a great party and we all had a wonderful time! We loved being able to swim, hang out with family and friends, and simply celebrate the life of our sweet "big" four year old! If you'd like to see a video recap of the party, check out the link below! :)


Thanks for following along! KA-CHOW!

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