I Hate You!

I came home amidst a whirlwind of drama.  My oldest upstairs in his room crying with the door shut.  My youngest running to me to try to tell me what his brother had done.  My au pair telling me she was handling it.

Since I had not even had the chance to take off my damn heels, I decided to let her deal with it.  Besides, nothing was broken or bleeding, so it didn’t seem to be a huge emergency.

Once I desuitified and adorned myself with my home uniform, consisting of sweats and a t-shirt, I came downstairs to a quiet house, and began to make dinner.  My 5 year old then came into the kitchen to give me an updated report.

“(My brother) said, ‘I mmmm you!’  It was a bad word that I can’t say, mommy, but it starts with an H.”

“Hate?  He said ‘I HATE you?'”

“Yes.  And then he said that he wished that he had a different brother than me.”

Oh boy.

This was bigger than I had previously realized.  I knew that although the initial drama had been handled by the au pair, this was significant enough that I was going to have to address it myself as well.

At dinner, I told my oldest son that we were going to talk later, assuring him that he wasn’t in trouble or anything (he had since apologized to his brother as requested), but that there was just something that we needed to discuss.

“Is it serious?” he asked.

Realizing that the last time his father and I told him we needed to talk about something, a mere 4 days prior, we broke the news to him that our beloved dog had died.  Seeing the look of apprehension in his eyes as he asked me about the seriousness of the upcoming topic, I assured him that it wasn’t anything too serious, but just something that he and I needed to have a chat about.

Later in the evening, once my youngest was in bed and some TV had been dutifully watched, it was almost time for bed for my oldest son, but that’s when he reminded me about the talk.  Apparently, after 7:00 at night, my brain pretty much shuts down for the day.  I had completely forgotten about this promised discussion.  He, evidently, had not.

I had no script for this moment, never envisioning that I would have to deal with this issue prior to the teenaged years.  But shit happens, and deal with it I must.  So, I dove in.

But as I started to talk, I found myself getting choked up.  I was having a hard time speaking to him calmly and reasonably, while at the same time trying not to start crying.  I was not expecting that, either.

I told him that no matter how angry or upset he was, that it was never okay to tell a family member that he hates them.  That he can not like what somebody is doing, but hating family is not acceptable.  That not only is it hurtful and untrue, it is dangerous.

And then I hit him with the big guns . . . and also really started to tear up.

“What if your grandfather (who lives with us downstairs), did something that you really didn’t like and you got really angry?  And you said, “I hate you!” to him.  And what if right after that he got really sick and had to go to the hospital.*  And that ended up being the last thing you said to him?  How bad would that be?”

At this point, I noticed that not only was I barely able to get the words out around the tears that were closing up my throat, but he was starting to cry as well.

But I wasn’t finished.  And I couldn’t let his tears dissuade me from my objective.  So, I went in for the kill.

“When grandma passed away a couple of years ago, how horrible would it have been if those were the last words she heard from a family member?  And if you got mad at me or your dad or your brother, and then something bad happened to us right after . . . would that be the last thing you would want us to hear you say?”

I know.  I know, I know, I know.  This was possibly harsher and more terrifying than I needed to make this conversation.  Especially to an eight year old.  And by the end of it, both of us had tears flowing down our faces.  Him, probably more because I was crying than anything, and me because the thought of any of those scenarios makes me unbearably sad.  So, I hugged him and held him tight.  And I told him how much I loved him and that everything was alright and that everyone in the family is fine, and nobody is going to get hurt.  We both knew that last part was a lie, but eventually we both stopped crying.  I might have had to employ The Tickle Monster to get his tears to dry.  It is an exceptionally effective tear dryer and I would highly recommend it.

Even though I might be seen as a mean mom, who scarred her poor child for life with my horror story of family members dying, I have no qualms about what I did.  My hope is that I did both scare AND scar him.  I hope that he always remembers how harsh and frightening this discussion was, and understands the power of words.  I hope he thinks about the effect words can have before the next time he wants to tell one of us that he hates us.  I wielded mine as a weapon with intent, and believe I struck my target.  I hope that prevents him from unintentionally hurling hurtful words at those he loves in the future.  Hopefully, he is young enough for it to have hit home and stuck with him.  

And hopefully, I’ve disarmed one teenaged grenade that was heading my way in a few years.

* This conversation happened prior to this occuring.  I have never wanted to be less presentient in my life.

Conversations with My EIGHT Year Old

Tomorrow is 7’s birthday, which will make him 8 (for those of you who have problems with basic math).  And seeing as I recently wrote a post for my youngest son on his birthday, sharing with the world (the world = 12 followers) his crazy and highly informative thoughts, I figured it was only fair to do the same for my first born.  So, Happy Birthday 8!!

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Talking about The Voice, and the brother duo on the show:

The one guy is a really good singer, but the other one isn’t as good.  He’s just there to attract the ladies.

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Talking to his brother, 5, about his hat:

No, not like that!  You have to turn it to the side. 

5 turns his hat to the side.

That’s good.  Now you’re a man.

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I’m going to do something for earth day, to make the earth a better place.  I’m going to stop farting, so the air is less stinky.

While that is a lovely (albeit smelly) sentiment, I’m not holding my breath for that to happen.  Although, maybe holding my breath is the best option.

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An interesting tidbit of learning, provided by our local educational establishment, i.e. 2nd grade:

Did you know that when Christopher Columbus sailed over towards the Bahamas, he said, “these are some ugly looking mermaids” about the manatees?  He wrote that in his diary.

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I was opening a bottle of wine, and the cork popped out:

Whoa!  Is there a note in there?

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Hubs:  The sunset is really pretty.

8:  Yeah, it’s 50 shades of grey out there!

I feel like I should be concerned that he is even aware of that title’s existence.  Is my son really a middle-aged sexually frustrated woman?

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8:  Tru dat, tru dat.  Giggle tru giggle dat.

Me:  What?  Where did you hear that?

8:  Mom.  In real life, that means “true that.”

Me:  Thank you for educating me, my son.

Keeping in real up here in da hood, yo. 

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8:  Mommy, today at the park, I heard a boy say a very bad word.

Me:  What kind of very bad word?

8:  The kind that starts with a Shhhh.

Me:  Oh, that IS a very bad word.

8:  Yeah, and it ends with I.T.

Me:  You know if you ever say that, you will be in big trouble, right?

8:  Oh yeah, I know.

But apparently spelling of bad words is just fine.  I guess it’s better than him flinging the F word around the house.

Cooking by Numbers

When I was in high school, I was mistakenly placed in an AP math class.  I was already taking a few other AP classes in English and History, but there was no indication that I excelled in mathematical concepts.  In fact, the prior year I got a solid B in Algebra II.  I do not know why this prompted the powers-that-be administrators to feel I needed advanced math classes.  I should have been placed in the next basic class.  Instead, I found myself drowning amongst concepts that I could not comprehend.  Once it was discovered that I was struggling, the teacher and my parents discussed the option of moving me down into the lower level class.  This would have been the best option, but for some reason, everyone decided to let me stay in the advanced class and try my hardest.  Unfortunately, my hardest wasn’t good enough.  My parents had to hire a tutor for me.  And even then, I just couldn’t get it. 

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Fortunately for me and my GPA, the teacher took pity on me and was incredibly charitable with her grading.  She knew I was being tutored and that I was trying my absolute hardest to do the best I could.  Because of this, I managed to eke out a C-, when truthfully it should have been much lower, if not failing.  It is the only class I have ever taken that I truly almost did not pass.

The next year, everyone smartened up, and I was placed in the most basic of basic math classes.  And although I was finally in an appropriate setting, I never forgot the feeling of drowning in that one advanced class.  The feeling that I just wasn’t smart enough or capable enough to handle what everyone else around me was easily comprehending.  It was not a feeling I enjoyed or ever wanted to repeat in the future.

Yet somehow, despite my genes, my oldest son is a math genius.  Merely in 2nd grade, he is already appropriately in an advanced math class.  Math is apparently one of his skills.  Where that innate ability with numbers came from is anybody’s guess, because as I’ve established above, it is definitely not from his mother.

The other night, my son was helping with dinner preparation.  This is a task which he routinely enjoys and does without complaint.  We were making stir fry, and one of his jobs was to cut up some of the veggies.

While he was cutting up a head of broccoli into little florets, he made this comment:

Cutting up broccoli is fun because it’s like math.  Because when I cut them in pieces, it’s like doing fractions.  For example, this piece is one-fourth of this broccoli. 

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I am 38 years old.  Much like Dana Carvey, I have chopped quite a few heads of broccoli in my day.  But not once did I ever think, “huh, this is just like math.  What fun!”

So, while I am happy for my son and his newfound sense of adventure and learning through cooking, this episode also scared the crap out of me.  I’m looking into the not so distant future, and seeing a time when my son needs help with his math homework.  Oh, say . . . probably sometime next week.  And I know for a fact that I will be absolutely useless in assisting him. 

I mean, if he needs help with English or composition or grammar, I’m your mom!  I am most definitely proficient in those topics.  But with anything math related?  No.  If I don’t have a calculator handy or the answer is more than 10 (the number of fingers on which I have to count), then I will not be solving for X.

These are going to be some long school years.  I mean, how sad is it when a 7-year-old boy is smarter than you at an elementary school subject?  All of a sudden, I am starting to experience that drowning feeling again from many years in the past, when trying to tackle an untenable subject.

In related news, I am going back to the hospital to do some research about any babies born the same day as my son.  If I find one that is really good at reading and writing with brown hair and brown eyes . . . there are going to be some hard-hitting questions, is all I’m saying.

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Do your kids have any traits and/or skills that have you wondering where they came from?

A Hot Cup O’ Joe

Holy crap, you guys!  Y’all really want this mug, huh?  Which is spectacular, because I spent my hard earned duckets to get that thing for you.  I mean, this is by far the most expensive thing I’ve ever given away, and I was so worried that nobody would think it was as rad as I did.  And I know what you’re probably thinking right now, “most expensive?  A mug?  What the hell?”  Well, the hell is that it’s from Disney, and everything there is stupid expensive.  I think it’s the extra magic particles they put in all of their stuff.  Or the fact that they need to pay extra to the fairies on the production line.  Whatever the reason, this was no ordinary FIVE BELOW kinda mug, ya dig?  So, I am very pleased with the responses I got for it.  Ok, then.  Enough of all that.  Let’s get to it.

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Once again, my kids came into play.  Sorry for those of you who voted for certain people and/or comments (ahem Hippie ahem), but this also limits my ability to pick a favorite as well.  So it’s all fair-like, capisce?

This time, I enlisted the services of my eldest son, 7, to help me.  There were a larger than usual amount of people who entered, which meant lots and lots of little papers which needed folding.  (Yes, I do actually type up each name, print them out and then cut them into equal sized pieces, before folding them into little squares and putting them into a hat to be picked . . . what?).  So, because of the extra volume of papers, I told 7 I needed his help folding them all up.  And after folding up a few, he commented: “huh, this is kinda fun.”  I love my little dork. 

So, since 7 was on folding duty (and hat holding), I let 4 pick the name:

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And who, praytell, is the lucky new owner of this super mega ridiculously fabulous drinking vessel, you may ask?  Well, it’s none other than:

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AGIRLWHOGAMES

Woo-hoo!!  I am very excited for this win.  I think she may have needed a little special something more than anyone right now, being from Boston and having a very heart heavy week.  The fates (or 4) apparently knew she needed a little pick me up in the form of a mickey mug.  So, agirl, congrats on this super mega wonderfully rad win!!  I hope it will make you smile.

Go ahead and send over your deets and I’ll send this out to you.  mistyslaws at gmail dot com.

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And, because everyone was so keen to know the answer to my little riddle from the last post, about whose face was on the other foot (if you didn’t read this, go back, and that phrase will make much more sense) . . . the answer is:

MARILYN MONROE

A few of you guessed it, so good job.  You don’t get a prize or anything.  I mean, except for having the knowledge of 50’s era stars who died young and guessing the correct one, which is a prize in and of itself.  So . . . go you! 

Put Me In, Coach

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It’s that time of the year again . . . baseball season!!  The family and I were fortunate enough to get opening day tickets for the start of the Baltimore Oriole’s season this year.  The only problem?  We would be on a plane headed home from Disney during the game.  Drats.  So, we decided to do the next best thing . . . get tickets for the next night’s game.  Which is where we found ourselves one brisk spring evening in April.

Baseball in Baltimore has a long legacy.  The Orioles have been really good for some of those years, and just plain awful for many more.  And in fact, excepting last year’s playoff run, the birds have stunk up the joint for about 2 decades past.  Luckily, Balmorons have a short memory, and it seems that every spring, no matter how bad they have been or for how long, there is still a feeling of hope.  An optomistic thought of, “maybe this will be our year.”  And with the playoff run at the end of last year, the citizens of this fine city may just have a reason to hope this year.  Fingers crossed.

So, it was with this resurgence of hope and optimism that we entered the stadium, with a couple of thousand other hopeful fans.  It was our first game of the year, and the entire family was in attendance, including even some extended family who had seats in another part of the park.  We were all very excited.  My husband had ordered our seats specifically so we could be close to the field, hoping that there might just be a small chance that my oldest son, 7 years old and in love with all things baseball, might just get lucky enough to get a foul ball.  Our seats were front row on the left field side of the outfield.  Pretty nice, really.

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We arrived at the stadium about an hour before the game, intending to get there early enough to relax, have some food, and settle in.  Instead of our usual m.o. of running late, rushing around, and showing up mid-way through the 1st inning.  This was a far better way of dealing with this kind of event, especially with young kids.

While we were settling into our seats, we saw the Oriole Bird come onto the field a little ways from where we were sitting.  My hubs took my youngest over to see what was happening on the field.  That is when we realized that they were grabbing kids from the stands to come out and “play baseball” with the bird.  Once we realized this, we asked our kids if they wanted to go over to be picked.  My youngest was all for it.  My oldest . . . you know, Mr. I Love Baseball . . . wanted no part of it.  No thanks, not interested.  I’ll just watch.  (Oh man, he is so my son).

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But my 4 year old leapt out there onto the field when it was his turn.  And he hit the ball(s) thrown to him, and got to run around the “bases” set up out on the outfield there.  He thought it was pretty awesome.

But then, as my older son is just standing there watching, not even right in front of where this was occurring, but probably about 2 sections over from where all the commotion was happening, one of the “handlers” comes running over to him.  He points up to him and says, “hey, do you want to come down?”  And my son is like, “sure.”  Wait, what?  Oh, and did I mention that at this point there is a line of children waiting to go down on the field in the area they had been picking kids from?  Yeah, I have no idea what prompted this guy to run over and grab my son, but I was just glad that he agreed to do it.  Because he had so much fun.

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What was even cooler was that the Bird kept doing this thing where he would pick up 2nd base as the kids were running towards it and play keep away with it.  With my son, he picked it up, played keep away, and then tossed it over his shoulder, so that it landed about mid-center field.  My son, who is a very, “huh, ok then,” type of kid, just altered his course and took off running to the newly distributed second base . . . all the way out in the outfield of Camden Yards.  So, basically, he got to traipse all around the field because of the Bird’s nonsense.  Pretty sweet for that huge baseball fan.

So, once my kids were done playing with the Bird and making their imprints all over the field, it was time for the game to start.  A couple of innings in, I started to get very thirsty, so I figured I would stretch my legs a bit and go get a beverage.  As I was walking around the outermost ring of the stadium, where all the food and beverage kiosks are, I chose one that basically had the shortest line.  As I got up to the girl serving the beers and ordered 2 (1 for the hubs, I wasn’t that thirsty), the girl said something that endeared her to me for all time:  “May I see your ID?”  Yep, that’s right, people.  I got carded!  I did notice a sign posted that said they carded everyone under the age of 30, but still, that would make me look 29.  I will totally take it!

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After I got back to my seat, and then everyone played a few rounds of “take a child to the bathroom to empty his bladder,” it was time to settle in to watch some baseball.  It was getting dark, and subsequently, the temps were dropping.  Everyone was pulling out their winter accessories . . . hats, gloves, earmuffs, etc.  It was really quite chilly.  And we had just returned from 80* Florida weather the day before, so it was pretty jarring. 

Accordingly, when a player from the Minnesota Twins hit a foul ball straight to our section, landing in the outstretched winter gloved hand of the man sitting 3 seats to my right, instead of actually catching the ball, it bounced of his highly padded paw and dropped back onto the field.  And subsequently, the outfielder, Nate McLouth, jogged over to pick it up, then looked up at the outstretched baseball gloved hand of my 7 year old, and tossed it right up to him.  That’s right, he got that foul ball, after all!  Good planning with those seats, hubs!

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Thanks, Nate!

All in all a pretty stellar night at the Yard.  Kids got to run around on the field, foul ball straight from a player’s hand, and I was indirectly told that I look 29.  Yep, a good night all around, I’d say.

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If you haven’t already, make sure you visit my last post, and enter to win the raddest mug ever!  All you have to do is tell me about your Happiest Place on Earth.  And really, can’t we all use a little happy right about now?  Go on . . .

Missing Snowmen

As I was preparing to leave for work a few days ago, my son asked me a question that hit me deep in the cockles of mi corazon.

He said:  Mom, are you going to come to my last karate practice tomorrow to see me get my belt, like last year?

Thwwwwaaaappp!!  That’s the sound of an arrow of guilt striking me right through the heart.

Of course, I had to respond:  “No sweetie, mommy has to work and won’t get home until after karate is over.”

And once again, I had to break my son’s heart just a little bit by telling him that mommy can’t be there for him when he asks me to.

This is not the first time I’ve had to miss one of my sons’ events because of my job.  And it won’t be the last.  It is just the nature of the beast of being a mom who works outside of the home.  There are many things that I can’t be there for.  And it is weighing very heavily on me.  Each time I miss another special event and once again disappoint my kids, I feel more and more like a horrible mother.  And while I know that the whole “super mom” thing is a total fallacy which only sets parents up for failure, not being able to participate in special events with my kids just makes me feel like I’ve failed.

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to experience the joy of joining my kids for one of those special events.  It snowed on a weekend, for once, so I was able to go out with them and build snowmen, throw snowballs, make snow angels and then make hot cocoa for them afterwards.  It was a lovely day in which I was able to spend some real quality time with my kids, and just be a fun mom for a change.  Instead of the mom that is always running out of the door, headed to work.  Or the tired mom at the end of the day, home after a long commute and eternal day in court, cranky and snapping at them during dinner.

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Of course, this one snow day set a precedent in my 7 year old’s mind, so that the next time it snowed, on a weekday this time, he asked if I was going to go outside with him to build a snowman.  But it was a Wednesday.  And even though my kids’ school was closed, I still had to go to work.  So, I would be forced to miss the snowman building, which I reluctantly informed my son when he asked.  I was then once again treated to an all too familiar sight . . .  watching his face morph from hopeful anticipation . . . to disappointment.  I abhor that look on my son’s face.  Especially when it’s me who is the cause of it.  It carves a chunk right out of my heart each time I experience that sad puppy dog face of his.

Lately, I really feel as if I am missing so much of my sons’ lives.  Not just the special activities like snow days and karate belts, but the day-to-day minutia.  The everyday little things that a stay at home mom experiences, and gets frustrated with, of course, is something that I never really have to deal with.  And while most of that is just annoying or boring daily activities, and I don’t necessarily miss all of that, I still feel like a huge part of my children’s lives are just passing me by.

I am very fortunate to have an au pair.  Someone who is there to take care of my kids and tend to all their needs.  This way, I am able to work, knowing that at least someone is on hand and available to my kids at all times.  But there is a serious drawback to this, as well.  Like when my youngest calls out to ask me a question, and instead of saying, “mom?” he says, “Maria?”  The au pair’s name.  Because he is so used to calling on her, instead of me.  As far as I know, he doesn’t call her mom, but I assume that can only be the next step.  And it terrifies me.  I am no longer “mom, the caregiver.”  I am “mom, the neverthere.”  And I’m not sure how and when this happened.

I have always worked.  Before my kids were born and throughout their lives, I have always been gainfully employed.  It is part of who I am.  I am a lawyer.  A professional woman.  I have never identified myself as a mommy.  I mean, I am a mommy, but that never seemed to be the role that defined me.  I hear stories from stay at home moms about how they lose their name and become known only as “Junior’s mommy.”  I have never been “Junior’s mommy.”  I’ve always been Misty.  But lately, I have this crazy feeling welling up inside of me that is pushing against that sense of self.  A feeling that I want to be Mommy.  Not just Misty.

Really, for the first time in my children’s lives, I want to be home with them.  I want to be the one doing all of those little annoying daily things for and with them.  I want to be the one they call on instinctually when they need or want something.  I want to be there for them.  Not just for the special moments, but for all of the moments.  I want to be a mom.  Just a mom.

Wait, what?  Holy hell!!  Am I crazy???  Who the hell just wrote all that crap?  Did my blog get hacked?  I’m not even sure what is going on any more . . .

I may be having some sort of mid-life nervous crisis breakdown or something.  Somebody, please send some help.  Or some drugs.  I may be having an out-of-body experience right now.  I don’t even know who I am any more!

And how friggin’ bass ackwards am I?  Whereas, most stay at home moms quit their jobs to stay home with their newborn babies, and if they return to work, it is usually when the kids go to school.  Me?  Yeah, I work throughout my kids’ babydom, then decide I want to be home with them when the youngest is just about to start kindergarten.  I am the most appropriate, ever!

As you can see by the disjointed and schizophrenic nature of this post, I don’t really know what I want right now.  But this feeling of possibly taking on a new and previously undiscovered role in my children’s lives has been steadily and persistently surfacing in my mind as a possible option for what to do with my future.  But also, as much as it has become a real thought, it also scares the hell out of me.  On the one hand, if I were to take the leap and become a stay at home mom (oh my god!), I would never have to miss any more of those little moments.  The snowmen, the karate, the class parties and trips . . .  I could be present for all of that.  No more absent mommy.  No more, “Maria?”  But on the other hand, am I ready to quit my job, ending a much needed source of income, and completely abandoning all sense of professionalism that I have always maintained and strived to obtain?  Not an attorney and a mom.  But just a mom.  It’s a possibility.

Who knows what the future holds.  But the thought persists.  It is pervasive.  And I am considering it . . .

The Big Reveal

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was planning to take my kids to Disney World for the first time, and I was looking for some advice from some of you more experienced peeps who have been there before.  Well, this past weekend, we finally broke the news to the kiddos that we were going.  And we did it like this:

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That’s right . . . it was a scavenger hunt!!  The boys had to go around to different rooms, collecting gifts (one for each, in 4 different rooms), until they had them all and could go to the final room.  I had also attached 6 little cards to the presents with a letter on each.  Those 6 little letters would eventually spell out the final destination for our trip.

And so it began . . .

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The first stop was THE PLAYROOM!

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In case you couldn’t figure that one out . . . it’s THE BATHROOM.

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Next stop . . . THE OFFICE.

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Pretty obvious that this spot is THE KITCHEN.

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Our last stop was THE LIVING ROOM (where we began our journey).  Then, the boys had to take all the little cards attached to the gifts, each with one letter printed on it, and unscramble it to discover what word those letters spelled out.  I was actually surprised at how long it took my oldest to figure it out, as he is very bright and can do crazy math problems in his head.  I figured those 6 little letters wouldn’t stand a chance.  But he struggled for a while, and my youngest just kept asking, “can we open our presents now?”  So, even though my son doesn’t get my math idiocy (thankfully), he did inherit my inability to see the solution to scrambled words.  It’s one of my very distinct weaknesses.  I just can’t see it.  It is so frustrating.  And apparently, I passed this down to my son.  Sorry, kid.

Finally though, with just a little help from his dad and me, he finally figured it out.

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And that’s when we told them we would be going to Disney World in 3 weeks for their spring break.  And then there was much excitement and cheering.  And present opening, of course.

Now I have to start the overwhelming process of planning all of the details of this whole trip.  Oy vey.

Wish me luck!!

I’m Going to Disney World!

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No, I didn’t just win the Super Bowl.  What do I look like . . . Joe Flacco?  I mean, yeah, maybe a little around the eyes.  But, that’s not what this is about!  Focus, people.  Back to the issue at hand . . .

This isn’t a post in the traditional sense.  What it is, is more of a cry for help.

My husband and I are planning a trip to Disney World at the end of March.  This will be our first trip as a family, the first time for our boys.  We already have the flights booked and the hotel reserved.  But other than that, we are still in the planning stage . . . including how we are going to tell the boys we are going.

I’ve been on YouTube.  I’ve seen the multitude of ways in which parents have surprised their children with news of their upcoming journey to the happiest place on earth.  In fact, just last week, a Facebook friend posted her own video of her and her husband telling her own boys they were going to Disney, that morning in fact.  That seems to be the most common trend in reveals.  The “we’re going to Disney . . . right now!” surprise.  We’re pretty sure we don’t want to wait until the day of to tell them.  We want them to have the chance to look forward to it and have some of that lovely anticipation, which I think is part of the joy of a great vacation.  But now we just have to figure out how to tell them.

Additionally, it has been many years since either the hubs or I have been to the magic kingdom.  I have a general idea of the things to do down there, but since the last time I visited, there are 2 new parks, I believe.  Quite a lot to see and do in just a short amount of time.  I’ve ordered the “planning video” from Disney, and looked online briefly for all the different activities there are to do, but to be honest, I’m a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.

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See, I’m a planner.  I like to know what I’m getting into.  And while I don’t need each and every moment of my vacation planned to the second, I at least like to have a general idea of what we are doing on what days, with some room for change if necessary.  My hubs is actually the opposite.  His father used to be a drill sargeant about vacations, and would yell and scream if everyone in the family wasn’t where they were supposed to be at the exact time he dictated.  My hubs’ reaction to this is to now hate all things planned and scheduled.  He is a very “go with the flow” vacationer.  I try to respect that as much as possible, but still need some kind of structure.  So it is very give and take with how we plan these things.

Being a first timer (be gentle, please), I need your help.  I know many of you have taken your kids to Disney, so I would like some real world advice.  First . . . how did you tell your kids?  Was it prior to or the morning of?  Did you give gifts, make posters, do a scavenger hunt?  Any tips or advice would be very helpful.

Next . . . what are some suggestions of things that we must see and do while we are there?  Obviously, we are going to try to hit each of the major parks, probably one on each day, unless something else is happening.  Any suggestions on must sees or things we could skip this first visit?

And finally . . . any other tips and tricks that might be useful?  Such as:  did you get the food plan?  Was that a good idea?  Did you rent strollers?  My kids are 7 and 4, but I’ve been advised that a stroller is key, even at these ages.  Did you do any of the character meals?  Which ones and was it worth it?  And . . . anything else you might be able to share to help me make this a great vacation for my kids, but also make my life a bit easier with planning and execution of this massive endeavor.  Tips people.  I needs ’em.  I wants ’em.  I gots to have ’em.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as always.  I love all y’all.  Thanks for being my peeps!

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