Why Do We Blog?

Why Do We Blog?

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That was the question Donald Driver presented to us in the afternoon session at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. It sounds like a simple question right? Why did I begin blogging? I started it because a friend of mine Danielle started a blog called Live, Run, Grow. I work with her cousin and her cousin told me about it. I knew Danielle had participated in Disney races and that’s where I was first introduced to the idea of running runDisney races. This was before the runDisney community exploded and the races weren’t a huge sellout like they are now. Danielle started her blog to document her training and to also share her stories about the runDisney races.

When I first heard of blogs about 8-10 years ago I thought they were stupid, honestly. I always considered them a soapbox for people to get up and blab on and on about their opinions. I never thought that one day I would have a blog. And the fact, that the blog might make me money as well, was a major stretch of my imagination. As we were boarding our plane today and I looked back and told my husband I didn’t want to leave, he asked me. Is it because you don’t want to go back to work? I didn’t think that was it, but when I thought about it, it kind of was. I mean who really wants to go to work? I don’t hate working; but I would much rather be doing things I enjoy like vacationing with my kids, taking them on field trips to learn, blogging on a more regular schedule, helping others find their happiness, doing things that make me happy.

So why do I blog? Well I started my blog back in 2012 to do what Danielle was doing. I wanted to use it as my online running journal. I used it to document my first races, my training, and to hopefully network with others. I didn’t know anything about how to write a blog, I just knew that you could host one for free with Word Press. So I took out a domain name and started blogging. The name Wife, Mother, Runner came to me very easily. I wanted the blog to cover many areas of my life, my life as a mom, my life as a runner, and my life as a wife and an individual.

Fastforward a few years and I have learned so much more. I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration on the Road in Philadelphia last year and have educated myself on how to self host my blog, get ads going with Google AdWords and there is still so much more I want to learn.

So back to the question from Donald Driver, “Why do we blog?” We all have a story to tell. The story we tell may inspire others. I didn’t realize it when I started my blog, but it does inspire others. People have come up to me and told me that the races that I run and the posts that I post about my training show my dedication and perserverance and they are inspired by that. My mother has told me she was inspired by my marathon training. Friends have told me they wanted to start running the Disney races beceause it looks like so much fun and they loved the pictures and stories I shared on my blog.

I choose to blog about most things positive. I will tell the truth; however. If something happens at a race or during my training or even in a life situation; I will blog about it. Donald said use your blog to share your pain or to share your success. It is a good way to let others know the struggles you have been through to get to where you are now. It helps them realize that maybe what you are going through might be something they are also feeling and they aren’t alone in that situation.

I have an illness called kidney vasculitis caused by Honoch-Schloen Purpura that usually strikes children. For me, it happened when I was 30 and it has caused a disruption in my life when I first got married 13 years ago. It took many years for the doctor to figure out what was wrong with me and it also caused my husband and I to have to put our dream of having children on hold for 5 years while I was treated with a chemotherapy-type medication. I was not blogging at that time; but now I want to share in my blog what I had gone through. It is a part of me and made me who I am today. It also made me the runner I am today. You can read more about it on my About Me page.

Donald said, “at then end of the day when you post something, how do you want people to feel about it?” I hadn’t thought about that when I write my blog posts. I usually write because I want to share news or even look back on my own life to see how I overcame something or what steps I took towards an accomplishment or goal I was reaching for.

What do I want my blog to become? I’d love for it to become a source of income for me so that maybe we could move and I could continue to make it a full time thing for me. Who knows? I hadn’t considered it; because I don’t know how to make an income off of my blog. Perhaps those of you who do, can we network and you can help me learn more about this possibility?

Why do you blog? I’d love to hear your story!

When Did It Begin For You

Something that I heard when I was attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was a question of “When did it begin for you?”  That question has been on my mind since I heard it.  I have been vacationing here in Walt Disney World for a little over a week and have been enjoying every minute here with my family.  We have done many of our favorite things, and have also tried some new things that we haven’t done yet.

So when did it begin for me?  When I was young, my best friend who lived next door went to Florida on vacation.  Her grandmother lived in Florida so when they went to visit her they went to Disney World.  I never understood what Disney World was, but it always sounded so interesting and magical and special.  She would go to this amazing place and come home with cute souvenirs.  I most envied her Mickey Mouse dangle earrings.  She did give them to me when we got older and I have to see if I still have them somewhere.

Then when I was 14 my parents said they were going to take us to Disney World!  They have friends in Lakeland, Florida so we were going to rent a car and drive to Florida and visit them, go to Daytona Beach, Universal and Disney World.  It is a fuzzy memory for me; but I’ll never forget the looong drive, the South Of The Border signs that seemed to appear for days, the sunburns, shopping for new clothes and brand new sneakers just prior to going away, and piling into the back seat of a car for the longest car ride of my life.

But it was worth it.  From what I can recall, I remember driving to the parking lot of Magic Kingdom and seeing the gates welcoming us to the Magic Kingdom park.  That now is still one of my favorite things to take a picture of during my marathon and half marathon races because it stems back to that time when I saw it for the first time as a kid. I also remember seeing the castle, walking down Main Street, the Barber Shop Quartet, the horse and carriage, the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Skyway Ride (gondolas in the back of the park), the lines in the roped off ques that zigged and zagged forever, the cinnamon rolls on Main Street and the smell coming from the bakery, and the building for Space Mountain stands out strong in my memory.  I also remember fondly the Electric Light Parade at night and standing on Main Street seeing these amazing floats going by all lit up and the music playing loudly throughout the park.  It was something I had never seen anywhere else before.

Fantasyland-Skyway

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As I write this post and think hard of the memories, they are coming bac to me in bits and pieces.  Is that when it began for me?  Or is it when I started to come to the parks with my husband before we were married.  He and I began coming to the parks together in August of 1998.  We had a blast coming here together for the first time.  Then we made it a yearly tradition, and sometimes we came twice during a year for a long weekend getaway.  Each time we came we learned more and more about Disney and people would often ask us why we kept going to Disney.  They didn’t understand that each time you go there is always something different you can do or something new to see, or a restaurant to eat at that you haven’t gone to before, shopping to be had and much, much more!  The same holds true when you come here with your children. First, when they are younger, you do the children’s rides with them, they as they grow bigger you can do more of the thrill rides with them, you can take them to more restaurants and the water parks.  You can stay out later with them!

Then of course, my husband and I met with a wedding planner in 2001 and he secretly booked our wedding date after we left our meeting with them.  So then the magic continued as we had our wedding at the wedding chapel 13 years ago today, and our reception in Epcot at the French pavilion outside for the Illuminations show.  So when did it begin for me?  It may have been that time when I was 14 and saw the Magic Kingdom for my first time and got a taste of it.  Only to have more and more exposure each time we came.  I couldn’t get enough of it and I still can’t!  We have to leave this amazing vacation tomorrow and we will always be looking forward to the next return trip back.

When did it begin for you?

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration Agenda

I was excited when I went on Facebook today and saw that Leanne had posted an agenda for the weekend.  While I had a rough idea of what we would be doing and when for the conference, this spelled out most of the days for us.  Sadly since I will be working all day Thursday and flying down late Thursday night, I’ll miss out on the opening events on Thursday night.  The family dinner at Epcot and Illuminations Dessert party sounds so much like what we did for our wedding reception!  I am so disappointed that I can’t be there for it.  We will still have all day Friday through Sunday to participate in the events and enjoy the magic of what will happen while at this awesome event!

But here are the list of events going on for us during the weekend:

Thursday, May 7
Check-in at the resort hotel
Then go to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Convention Center to pick up your conference materials. Conf. Registration is open 8:00am – 4:30pm.
4:45pm – (Attendees only) Transportation from Yacht Club Convention Center to Epcot
5:00pm – (Attendees only) Welcome Reception at Epcot, World ShowPlace
5:45pm – (Families) Transportation from Yacht Club Conv. Center to Epcot
6:00pm – (Everyone) Family Dinner at Epcot, World ShowPlace
8:40pm – (Everyone) Illluminations Dessert Party (Guides will lead you to location)
9:30pm – Buses to take you back to Yacht Club Conv. Center or you can walk

Friday, May 8
7:00am – 10:00am Conf.Registration open to pick up packets if you missed it yesterday.
7:15am – (Attendees only) Breakfast, Yacht Club Conv. Ctr (Salon 1-4)
8:30am – 4:45pm (Attendees only) General Session begins (Please be on time!)
9:00am – Noon (Families) Special Meet/Greet Opportunity at Yacht/Beach Club Sand Castle Club
5:00pm – 7:00pm (Everyone) Special Meet/Greet Opportunity at Yacht Club Conv. Ctr.
7:30 – 9:00pm (Everyone) Family Dinner on the Beach at Yacht Club Resort

Saturday, May 9
6:30am – 8:30am (Video Participants) Buses depart Yacht Club Conv. Center. Buses will depart in waves, based on what you signed up for. Individual itineraries will be given at registration. If you miss the bus, you miss the opportunity. BE ON TIME.
8:30am (Everyone) Transportation to Downtown Disney (from Yacht Club Conv. Center)
9:00am – 11:15am (Everyone) Special Event at Downtown Disney
11:30am – Rest of day free to enjoy on your own

Sunday, May 10 (Happy Mother’s Day!)
6:00am – 7:00am funRun (Meet at the outdoor patio of Yacht Club)
8:00am – 9:30am (Everyone) Mother’s Day Breakfast

I’m looking forward to seeing some of my runDisney friends Patty and Mindy while there and meeting others at this incredible event.  Just one week from now we will be immersed in the magic!

I also got word today that I will be a contributor to the Disney Driven Life Blog!  It’s been a good day!

I Have Rekindled An Old Relationship

No, I’m not cheating on my husband. I have reacquainted myself with my treadmill. For several reasons lately, I have had to do all my running indoors. I wasn’t happy about it at first; but after the third day in a row of my Dopey training schedule for this week I have come to terms with it.

I had to do 8 miles today. I had an online training class that starts at 9 and it’s dark out by 6 p.m. so I knew I couldn’t get in 2 hours of running outdoors tonight. So I set my alarm for 5:30 this morning so that I could have my tea and get downstairs to begin the run at 6:00. My daughter woke me up at 4:30 because she was coughing (side effect of fall rainy wet leaves). Once I got her settled back down and into my bed I think I slept for about 15 minutes before my alarm went off. I reluctantly hit snooze and laid there for a few minutes. I knew I couldn’t waste time so I got up, had my tea, got dressed and ventured downstairs with my iPad and headphones.

I felt good. I planned on walking all of the 8 miles per Jeff’s training plan. As the first mile was complete, it was almost a 16 minute mile. At that pace it would take over 2 hours to get the run done and I really only had 90 minutes to do it. I decided to throw in a little jogging here and there. It was still a productive run. I caught up on my episodes of Nashville and watched the latest episode of Scandal (LOVED IT!) At about 6:50 my son came into the workout room and scared the heck out of me! He had a bad dream and couldn’t go back to sleep so I brought him back upstairs and set him up with a TV show so I could complete my run.

I was keeping an eye on the clock and knew I had to stop at 7:30 to wake up my daughter and get them their breakfast. At 7:30 I had 5.25 miles completed. I woke her up, made breakfast for both kids and went back downstairs. The kids were so awesome and cooperative. At 8:00 I checked in with them and told them to get dressed and brush their teeth. I made their lunches and went back downstairs. I was at 7 miles a little bit after 8:00. So after making their lunches I had to finish my last mile on the plan and get them out to the bus. By 8:30 – Mission Accomplished!

I was so glad. I got them off to school, took a quick shower, made my chocolate milk and breakfast and got ready for my 9:00 online training class. It’s nice to know that my third workout was done before the day even got going. I am feeling soreness in weird places and I know it’s from running on the treadmill. My right butt muscle feels a little weird and I feel it in my muscles in my back going up along my spine. All good things, not bad soreness, but adjustments

I am considering beginning the first 10 miles of my 23 mile run tomorrow on the treadmill so that I can be home with my kids and have it done while my husband is at work, then when he gets home I’ll finish 13 on the road so that I won’t be out of the house for 5+ hours after he gets home. This way we can spend most of the afternoon together as a family!

I am rekindling my love for my old treadmill. That treadmill has been with me for over 14 years! I began using it religiously in 2002 when I first started to “run”. Then I used it as soon as I could after my son was born and began running again after I was given the OK to run again.

Dopey Challenge – It Really Is A Challenge

This past month I started a new job. I really enjoy the new job and so far it hasn’t gotten in the way of my training for the Dopey Challenge. The challenge for me is that I was Dopey to sign up for this challenge when I never before even did the Goofy challenge! What have I gotten myself into?

My training has been going well, I will admit that. But I don’t feel as successful as I think I could feel. Maybe I just don’t know how I am supposed to feel. I do know that at times running does feel like work. Mike and Michelle talked about it on their podcast in a recent episode and it hit home with me. I do enjoy running still and I get out for my two short runs during the week and then my assigned run per Jeff Galloway. Typically if it isn’t a long run or race weekend then it is a 4 or 6 mile run. Again, I still enjoy those runs. It’s when I have the long run showing up closer on my calendar that I start to feel anxious.

I knew that next weekend I have a long run on the schedule and I can’t take a day off of work to fit it in. This means I will have to spend a weekend day running for 5 hours. It also means that I have to figure out when and how I will get out there because my husband is starting a new job and has to work on Saturday. I don’t want to spend my Sunday out running for half the day when it is the only day he will be home with the family.

So we discussed the plan over breakfast and since he will only be working 5-9 on Saturday I will head out when he gets home. This is similar to when I would go out for my long run after getting Kevin on the bus and dropping Adrienne off to preschool last year. So if I keep that mentality I will be ok.

However, the difference this time is that I have to do a 3, 5, 8 and 23 mile run in 4 consecutive days – The Dopey part. It’s getting dark out very early and it’s also dark early in the morning. I can’t run in the morning because my husband is starting his new job this week. So I’ll have to plan on doing my 3 miles Wednesday after work, 5 miles Thursday during lunch since I am taking online training at home, and I am not sure yet how I am going to get in my 8 miler on Friday. Here’s where the crazy juggling comes in.

I think what helps me not freak out too much is knowing that I only have 2 more groups of training runs like this in the next two months. One right before the Philadelphia Marathon and then before the WDW weekend the week before Christmas. I guess I’ll worry about how I’ll fit that all in when the time comes. I may have some accrued vacation time to squeeze in the long run on a Friday. I may have to fire up the treadmill in a few weeks and put in the miles indoors early in the morning. I don’t know how to get back into treadmill mode. I swore it off four years ago.

Do you have any advice on how to integrate the treadmill back into my training routine?

The EPIC Summer of 2014

This is the first official week of summer at our house.  Despite the fact that my kids have been in the pool for almost a month now.  The last day of school was Monday, June 23 so that means summer vacation!!!  I wanted this year to be one of those summers the kids will never forget.  I know that I have memories of my summers when I was a kid.  These are memories I hope to never lose.  That’s why I am creating the Epic Summer of 2014 for them.  It’s all about FUN, sun, water fun, basic happiness, love and family time. What do you remember from your summers as a kid?  I remember putting playing cards on my bike and riding around the yard sounding like a motorcycle.  I remember when it was a treat for us to go to a friend’s house to swim before we got our own pool.  Camping, air shows in Cape Cod, family reunions, staying up late at night, playing hide and go seek in the dark, bug bites, catching fireflies, soda in the glass bottles from the Pop Shop in North Haven, the carnival on the hill behind my yard and the Musco’s yard!  Going up to the carnival grounds after they packed it all up to look for loose change and any money that may have fallen out of people’s pockets.  Friday nights were always special because my dad didn’t work late on Friday nights, so we made popcorn and ate it in the “red bowl” and watched the Dukes of Hazzard, the Hulk, Donnie and Marie, and heard Dallas (when we were in our beds).  And my parents always told us to stay in our rooms when we woke up and let them sleep!  It never happened. Summers were magical.  From the day you step off the bus to the weeks before school when it is time to get some back to school clothes from Sears.  I want to create that feeling for my children.  The day after my son’s last day, I put up a tent in the back yard for them to play in.  Then I had my lunch break with them in there and gave them some one on one time. We went to the Hamden Fireworks this Friday night.   We made water balloons today to have a water balloon fight.   We took a little road trip to get ice cream from a seasonal ice cream place!   We played with sparklers!   I am looking forward to making many, many more special memories this summer! What special things do you remember about your childhood?

Frozen Summer Fun! And Cinderella Castle Updates at Disney

Photo Source Disney Parks Blog

Photo Source Disney Parks Blog

Some big announcements came out this week about Disney.  (Well, they are big announcements to me). “Frozen Summer Fun Live!” activities and experiences are happening in Hollywood Studios!  In Disney’s Hollywood Studios there will be full day all-new Frozen experiences from July 5 – September 1.   There is no additional cost for these activities as they are included in park admission.  I am curious if the fireworks will be any different than the ones done during Fantasia.  I heard the fireworks done for the Villains event were spectacular.

Here are some of the experiences:

    • Olaf on Summer Vacation – Olaf the snowman is having the time of his life on his very first summer vacation! He chimes in throughout the day to keep everyone updated on all his adventures. Plus, you can pick up your very own Take-Along Olaf from locations in the park, so he can join you on your summer vacation. And when you share your photos with Olaf on social media, be sure to tag them with#OlafSummerVacation. They may just get selected to appear in that day’s grand finale!
    • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – At 11:00 a.m. each day, Elsa and Anna arrive in Hollywood as part of their goodwill tour of neighboring kingdoms, making their way down Hollywood Boulevard in a horse-drawn sleigh. Kristoff is along for the fun, too, joined by a flurry of skaters, skiiers, ice cutters and more! The entire procession culminates in a special moment at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage to officially welcome the visiting royalty to this kingdom of Hollywoodland.
    • For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – Cool down inside the Premiere Theater, where Anna and Elsa join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their Kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
    • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his cousins have created a Frozen Funland filled with cold weather activities, unique photo opportunities, and more! There’s a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen”-inspired food and beverage offerings.
    • “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ, live band, and more! The band plays a variety of classic and contemporary summer rock & roll hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites. It’s going to be hot!
    • “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”

These activities sound like a lot of fun!  Too bad we missed them by a few months.  I wonder if they will be coming back for repeat performances in the future.  Please note that during these events, there will not be photo opportunities with Elsa and Anna.  In my opinion I think this is a good way to increase the number of people who visit Disney Hollywood Studios.  Right now, Anna and Elsa can only be seen if you wait over 4-5 hours in Magic Kingdom at the Princess Fairytale Hall.  So this is another opportunity to “see” them; however you cannot pose for pictures with them in Hollywood Studios.

Cinderella's_Royal_TableIf you are planning on travelling to Disney World in January or February for Marathon weekend or the Princess race weekend, you will not be able to book a dining reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table. The refurbishment is scheduled to begin on January 5, 2015 and end on March 6, 2015.  If you are still looking for a princess dining experience, you can book a reservation for Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway Pavilion.

Cinderella-royal-table-00I wonder what the refurbishment will look like!  I wonder if the menu will also be changed.  I have been there twice before I had children and would love to take them to the castle for a meal one day; however, the food choices never really appealed to me and I know my kids wouldn’t really like the choices there either. I always liked the way the castle looked inside, so I wonder what the refurbishment will include.