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?
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.
If 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.
I 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.
For the past few years change has been a big part of my life. This week some more change has come my way. I was just in a Town Hall meeting at work this morning because of another change at my company. I have been with my company for 24 years. I left for a brief time and came back, so in the books they have me as an employee for 20 years on July 5 of this year. In all of my time at my job I have worked with many other people who have been with the company for as long as I have. The President of our business has announced his retirement. He is 66 years old so it isn’t a surprise that he is retiring, it is well-deserved for him. I still have about 20 years left to work. I don’t know that I will remain at this company for 20 more years. I say this because there are no guarantees. In the past 8 months, about 6 men in upper management have also “retired”. That’s a lot of change for a business in a short period of time. That makes me feel a little uneasy.
Something has been brought to my attention this past week and it really has me thinking outside of the box. Am I ready for change? Is it time for me to make a change? In the meeting today, our new President said that change happens and it makes people uncomfortable but it is about how you embrace the change. Last week at the Social Media Mom’s Celebration Debi Sibler said we stay in our comfort zones because we are afraid. These statements are heavy for me right now. I have a lot on my mind. I don’t do well with change, I never have. I have a family to care for now which makes change and decisions even bigger to manage because I have to consider everyone else as well.
You know the old saying, “when one door closes another one opens.” What about if a door opens before one shuts? I had a dream about a major event happening in my life 2 months ago and something that was part of that dream happened to me this week. Is it all about perspective?
Well, I’m on to my 3rd marathon of the year! I began my training towards the Philadelphia marathon, which is on November 19, 2014. When Jeff Galloway gave me my training plan for the year I began to break out in a cold sweat as I looked at it. Usually I back down on my mileage during the summer for the obvious reasons of not wanting to do long runs in the heat. Well, I am also working towards Dopey this year and just finished the Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon two weeks ago so I had some mileage under my belt already.
The schedule called for a 14 mile run over the weekend. Every weekend in June had something going on every day. This past Sunday NOTHING was on the calendar. I had the chance to sleep in YAY! But instead, I was toying with the idea of getting up early to get my run over with while it was cool out. Also allowing me to still have time left in the day to do other things rather than sleep till 9, eat, get ready and maybe hit the road by 10:00 which would mean I would be home by 12:30 or 1:00, need to shower and then start the day. I mentioned the crazy idea to my husband and he suggested I go for it. (Sure it’s not him waking up at 6:00 on his weekend). But he said if I did that then I could join everyone else for breakfast at iHop.
As much as I really didn’t want to get up early, I knew it was a smart idea for many reasons, it would be quieter on the roads that time of day, it would be much cooler and I would still have most of my day ahead of me.
It was a beautiful morning. I jumped out of bed as my alarm went off, got ready, ate some toasted cinnamon bread and got out do the door by 6:45. I had to map out my route a different way because I was already tired of my long run routes from my Providence marathon training long runs. I did some of my usual roads past the vineyards and reservoirs, up my road, and then changed it up a little and headed towards my parents’ house and into North Haven via Route 17. Being that it was earlier, Route 17 wasn’t too busy so I was happy about that.
I used the intervals of 45/30 and was comfortable with that. I wanted to stay away from 30/30 because when running with friends, they sometimes use the longer intervals and if I only train for 30/30, changing to the longer interval is very difficult for me. I will be running Philadelphia alone I believe, but I am going there to stay with a friend for the race, so she and I will talk about what our expected finish times are and her training plan as the summer progresses. Running Providence with Perfect Goofy Gail taught me a lot about running a race with a friend and how our training plans can hurt/help each other if you discuss your intervals ahead of time to prepare for race day.
My run was successful. It was a hilly warm day and after I was done, I wanted to compare my elevation map to the one from the Heartbreak Hill Half because I felt like I was running Heartbreak Hill in my own neighborhood! Come to find out the elevations were pretty similar.
My finish time was 2:52:44 with 12:20/miles. I am happy with that considering the big hill I had to tackle at the end. And it is considered a training run, but I think I was going a little faster than I should be for a training run. Next up on the schedule (I don’t want to know yet). I know it is a 17 mile run within the next 2-3 weeks. I’ll enjoy the low mileage for the next week or so and then look ahead to see what I have on schedule. But I am pretty sure I will take the same approach and do it early in the morning so I don’t have to worry about the heat. Maybe this time I”ll do it on a Saturday instead. One thing I did notice was that my legs felt really good afterwards. Not like Heartbreak Hill where they were pretty shot for a few days afterwards. I did go for a shakeout run on Tuesday and was a little slow, but no pain. So I’m pleased with that.
The last part of my Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road” series is about what I personally got out of the seminars towards my own personal growth. This year is about the one word resolution I made to “Grow”. The speakers in this segment talked about some good information regarding being a mom-entrepreneur and also about being working/blogging moms. We live and work in a world where we juggle a lot of things (women especially). The speakers were:
You Can Be Do and Have It All How?
Debi Silber, @TheMojoCoach, Author and Founder of The Mojo Coach
When the three panelist of the Huggies Mom Inspired Grant Winners were discussing their lives and what they went through to get a product to market one thing that really stood out to me was when Amy Bradley from Toydozer said she missed several years of her children s’ lives. To me, nothing is worth missing time with the family. It took us a long time to have our babies and I want to be a part of everything in their life. I am glad that I have the ability to work from home some days during the week, because I feel more connected and part of their lives that way. Next year when both my kids are in school five full days a week it’s going to be a huge change for me. I think I am going to feel a loss because both of them will be away from me for 38 hours a week! Time is going by far too quickly for me. I love seeing the growth in my children and how much they have learned in the past school year, but it also means they are spreading their wings a little bit more and I’m not ready for that. I try to take as many pictures as I can and capture the moments as much as possible. My son always tells his friends “my mom likes to take a lot of pictures”. They will thank me one day.
A great question from the audience was “How do you shut if off?” I think we are all guilty of juggling many things. But there should be a time that is off-limits to the outside world (business, social media, etc.) to allow you to be present 100% to your family. There is the ability with the iPhone to set do not disturb hours. That’s a good tool you can implement. Another one is to implement office hours so the people you interface with understand that you will be available certain hours of the day but then after that time or during the weekend you will not get back to them so they don’t expect that from you.
Maria Bailey added something to the answer to that question by saying “Look at the whites of your child’s eye when you’re talking to them.” That was brilliant. That was my ah-ha moment that I took out of the entire seminar. How many times are we washing dishes, looking at our phones, driving the car, doing laundry, cleaning, answering emails, blogging, etc. and talking to the children with half of our attention? I know I am guilty of this. I have been making an effort to turn off my devices and setting aside time at night after dinner/dishes/cleanup to go outside and play with the kids. They crave our attention every day. My kids have each other to play with and that’s great, but they really want US. We are apart for so many hours of the day so they want to spend time with us. The dishes will always be there. The house will never be clean. The electronic world can wait. Our children cannot. I am working on putting them first. That may sound stupid, that it may be common sense, but think about how often we put the other things before them. It’s a shame, in my opinion that the cleanliness of the house comes before the happiness of my children, or the message that needs to be answered comes before them. With the world becoming in such need of immediate gratification or fast response, we are (or at least I am) falling victim to always being available to others before my family. When I work from home I tend to never take a lunch break. This summer I will be taking my lunch break when I am home with my kids and doing something fun with them.
Some other pieces of advice I gained was about the support of our families and our spouses. I know my husband is very supportive of my running “habit” and my racing and I need to acknowledge that to him “out loud” to let him know how much I appreciate his support. Debi Sibler, the Mojo Coach, gave us the advice of getting rid of toxic relationships and trying to be everything for everyone. When we do this, we tend to forget about taking care of ourselves and that stress can cause physical damage to your body resulting in illness. It is important to take care of your Body, Mindset and Lifestyle. Every choice we make takes us farther or closer to the body we want. Are you not losing weight because of mindless eating? This is something I had been struggling with lately, but when I became conscious of what I was doing, and logging everything I ate, I have lost 6 pounds in two weeks. Jeff Galloway has also been helpful in making me think this way. He is my running coach, but he is also an educator in all things life. He just helped me “get it”. I believe we do many things in life in autopilot and aren’t 100% present.
Take care of your body. Think about how often we sit. We sit at our computer at home, we sit in the car to drive to and from work or school. We sit at work for our office jobs. We sit on the couch if/when we do get to watch TV. I have back problems, so that is one thing my chiropractor and I talk about a lot and I have made a change in my life to be aware of how much I am sitting and how that compresses my spine. I have a sit/stand work station at work so that when I realize I am sitting too long, I change my position and stand. It’s also important to get up and move around. When I am working from home, I work at a counter top where I stand. Today I started to keep track of my steps “old school style” using a digital pedometer. There are so many gadgets out there these days but I don’t have a Fitbit yet and I want to be “aware” of how much movement I have during a typical working day from home. I also do something that Debi recommends, and I have an appointment with myself for my workouts. They are important to me so I always make them a priority in my schedule. No matter how tired or unmotivated I am, I always get my workout done. After the Seminar, Kim and I drove home and despite being awake at 3 a.m. I still went for my scheduled run that evening. It was not my best run, but it was better than no run at all! My husband asked me if I could just skip it that night, but I couldn’t. My schedule for the rest of the week wouldn’t allow for it and it was already on my schedule and I am diligent about that.
Changing your mindset means to believe in yourself. You can’t change what you are not aware of. If you always say “On I’ll never be able to do that”, then find a way to do it – create a new response. If a belief doesn’t serve you, shed that belief. Just like if a relationship is toxic to you, get rid of that relationship. It is important to believe in yourself and talk to yourself in a positive way. Debi also said that Your belief system is no more than the repetition of an idea from someone you trust. That is a strong statement that you have to sit on and think about. If you always stay in your comfort zone, you may never try something to broaden your skills and challenge yourself.
Change your lifestyle if something is causing you stress. It makes us sick, fat and tired. Chronic stress kills you in the long-term. Your body responds to stress like you are being attacked so it is always on alert and in that mode of protection. When you feel that way most or all of the time, the chemical reaction is not good for you. Work/life balance – is there such a thing? It’s best to be 100% in the space you are in. But really, how many of us can do that? Right now I am writing my blog post, but my kids have just woken up for the first day of their summer vacation and I am about to begin my work day. Yes, I am giving 100% to writing this blog post, but after that I have to be mom, an employee and I also see the mess in my kitchen that needs attention. That’s a hard thing to do!
Some closing remarks Debi left us with are “Do the people you spend the most time with inspire you?” and “Live in the present.” I have been chewing on these remarks since last week. There has been a lot of great information I took out of the seminar and I am glad I was able to experience it and share it with my readers. I hope something I wrote about impacts your life.
As they seminar came to a close, prizes were given out. I was a lucky winner of this cute Cinderella Madame Alexander doll! My daughter and I are going to have to fight over who gets to keep it! As I type this, I think to myself that I’d like to keep it and keep it in the box so it stays clean. Then the other part of me says, give it to my daughter so it will make her happy. What’s the sense of keeping a doll in a box when it can bring happiness to my daughter! So there’s the answer!
So that’s my final recap of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road”. I was so glad to be a part of the experience. I enjoyed what I learned from it, the gifts I received, and the new people I met. I look forward to reading all of the blogs of everyone I collected business cards for and I hope to also connect with others through Facebook that I was not able to get a card from. I enjoy experiences where I can meet new people who share the same interest as me (especially Disney!), and where I can take away something to help me grow as a person, wife and mother.
As I continue my series from the Disney Social Media Mom Celebration, part 3 talks about the guest speakers and what I learned from their presentations. I am so pleased with the speakers that presented at the event. Going into the event, I had seen the biographies from the speakers, but really wasn’t quite sure what they were going to talk about that would be relevant to me and my life and my blogging. I also watched the seminar from Chicago via momTV, which I thought was brilliant.
The guest speakers and topics in Philadelphia were:
Victoria Lim, @victorialim, Managing Editor, Walt Disney World Public Relations
Creating Visual Content with Ease
You Can Be Do and Have It All How?
Debi Silber, @TheMojoCoach, Author and Founder of The Mojo Coach
This blog post is going to focus on what I learned from Victoria. Her presentation was my favorite presentation, and the one I took the most out of in an educational sense. She had excellent tips and tricks about the tools of the trade used for blogging and spreading the word via social media. She shared with us some free apps she recommends to create videos of our photographs and videos clips, technical gadgets and suggestions for maximizing your mobile tools.
Some of her simplest but most common sense tips are:
- Horizontal not vertical. I used this approach when taking photos and videos of my daughter’s All Star Pee Wee National baseball game this weekend!
- Clean your lens. How many times have you noticed pictures taken that were cloudy and fuzzy. Yes, your phone lens can certainly get dirty.
- Be mindful of ambient noise when doing interview or videos.
- Keep your phone in airplane mode when doing an interview or recording a video. This will prevent your phone from making obnoxious noises while recording and will also prevent the chance of you losing your video capture because a phone call comes through.
- Use hot spots.
- Get a tripod – gorilla pod is a great little portable tripod
- Photo lens kids – you can purchase little clip on lenses from www.livingsocial.com or anywhere for around $20.
- irig Microphone
- rode smartlav lavalier
Victoria also gave us recommended apps to download:
- majisto (you cannot edit the video with this too)
- videolicious (works with mostly still photos)
- iwatermark (to watermark your photographs)
Part 4 of my series will focus on the emotional/personal growth I took out of the guest speakers. I loved the variety of speakers at this event from the technical education to help you with your blogging and social media, and then there was the emotional and personal topics to help you with your life in juggling motherhood, work, home and family. Again, it was a fantastic event that I walked away with a nice set of tools (and goodies!).
As Part 2 to the Disney Social Medial Moms Celebration “On The Road”, I wanted to share with you some of the fun stuff and the videos that were shown during Gary Buchanan and Jenn Fickley-Baker’s presentations. Gary shared with us the contest information for becoming the 8th miner and all of the fun associated with the opening of the Seven Dwarf’s Mine train on May 28th.
Jenn Fickley-Baker, Walt Disney World Social Media Manager shared with us a video gathering up all of the Disney Characters in one location for one photograph. It is the behind the scenes footage of the “Ultimate Tweet” that launched the Rock Your Disney Side campaign.
We were also given swag bags when we picked up our name badges. Here are the awesome goodies that were inside our bags. Also placed on our tables were Vinylmation characters! We were treated to nice treats, sweets and surprises during this awesome conference! Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Conference with information from the other guest speakers! If you haven’t seen Part 1, read it now!