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Missing Brighid, Enjoying Eilis

Brighid has been at camp for three days now, which has forced me to spend even more time than I normally do with my two littles.  It’s been a tough three days, and God Bless the moms who do this every day without help.  I can barely find time during the day to pee, let alone eat healthy, shower, do laundry, etc.  Not only do I miss the extra hands Brighid provides, I just miss Brighid.  I’m always glad to have her go to camp, because it’s good for her to be away and involved with the Irish community, but I miss her little face around the house.

Having said that, Eilis seems to be on especially good behavior during the day.  She has been helping with the baby, helping with laundry, playing nicely by herself, sitting with me and reading stories, and wanting to learn things.  Yesterday, she wrote her name 🙂   She’s a whole different kid – for the most part – when Brighid isn’t here.

And little Grace – well, she just goes along for the ride so far.  She’s happy no matter who lives here and who is getting in trouble (although she did cry with Eilis tonight when Eilis got in trouble). 

My Psychic Experience

Let me begin by reminding anyone who knows me and informing anyone who does not that I am a psychic junkie.  I love this stuff.  As far as I’m concerned, John Edward walks on water and I would follow him to the ends of the universe if he offered me a private reading for ten times what he normally charges.

Months ago, my mom’s friend went to see a psychic named Aislin.  She is from Ireland, and Donna had such an amazing experience, that she gave my mom Aislin’s number and told her to call.  She told her all about her reading and how accurate it was and the things she predicted – many of which have since come true.  She sees dead people, apparently, and I think Donna thought my mom would get in touch with my sister, Bean, who died on March 7th, 2003.  My mom called me and told me to call her and make an appointment, but I left a message that was never returned.

Earlier this year, my mom began wondering again, and I told her to call and get an appointment.  She got one for Tuesday, April 5th.  Unfortunately, I was admitted to the hospital on Monday, April 4th.  My mom phoned to cancel the appointment, and she was told by Aislin that I would not go to my expected delivery date with the baby (which was May 7th), and she told my mother that my diabetes (which is why I was in the hospital) would get worse but then get better (which it did).  My mom thanked her and told her we would call when I had the baby and could come back.

So, it was finally our turn to go see her on July 19th.  With my father recently dying, I was too familiar with some psychics to expect him to come through.  I have heard that once they cross over, there is a period of time during which they have to get used to being there before they can begin communicating with us.  Either my dad is a really quick adjuster, or Aislin’s spirits don’t believe in that rule.  My dad came through right away and the first thing he did was acknowledge Jim for bringing him food in the hospice care facility.  He gave me messages like he felt guilty about leaving the way he did, but he was happy to be where he was and it was the right thing for him.  He said he was sorry he passed along the gene for diabetes to me, and ultimately to Eilis, but that neither of us would suffer the complications that he did.  He also apologized for not being there for me at times when I felt like I needed him.  I don’t think that was something accurate, as I do not know of any time that my dad wasn’t there for me – well, there was about two years when he didn’t speak to me for a reason I still don’t know.

I got predictions for things that are supposed to happen.  Jim and I are supposed to have a fourth child in about 3 years – of course, I’ve had my tubes tied, so we will see how that plays out.  She told me it would be the child of a member of Jim’s family, not our daughters.  My girls will all be happy and successful, although Eilis will stay with me the longest, leaving home when she is 30.  Brighid will be a teacher, Grace will be something artistic.  She didn’t say what Eilis would be.

Overall, for the $35 it cost, it was an awesome experience at half of what John Edward tickets cost me to just sit in an auditorium of thousands and listen to everyone else get messages.  I’ll let you know how accurate she is if I’m changing newborn diapers in 3 years.

Date with The Grim Reaper – or his lesser evil twin

I hate to be sick for a variety of reasons.  The biggest reason is that I hate to feel badly, and I hate the whole vomitting thing that occurs.  Fortunately, I don’t get that sick very often.  I went to bed with a bedtime snack of a small piece of carrot cake on Saturday evening, and by 11 PM, I was shivering and shaking so badly that my muscles were starting to cramp.  Jim came up, helped me find sweats and heavy socks, and then he lay beside me to help keep me warm.  Then, about 3 AM, the puking began.  It continued on into the morning, with alternating high fever and drenching sweats.  I slept all day Sunday, on and off between trips to the bathroom, bucket in tow.  Thank goodness for my Brighid, who did an awesome job helping her father with the two little ones.  Jim could not stay home today, although I really could have used him, so Brighid is pitching in again today way beyond her sisterly duties.  It was all I could do today to hop in the shower.  Still have awful stomach pain, but the vomitting has been replaced by the lesser of two evils – diarrhea.  My head pounds, my fever is down, and I have no energy.  The kids were starving after raiding the fridge, so we ran to Wendy’s for a bite for them.  Brighid is doing so well with the baby.  She deserves a medal 🙂

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

It may seem odd to post information and memories of this event now, when it is only July, but you will find it useful when I regale you with my MNSSHP stories.

The main reason for posting this now is because the tickets are on sale now!   Halloween night is ALWAYS a sell out, and you will find many other nights, especially the weekends, sell out as well.  This is what is known as a hard ticket event at Disney World.  The party takes place at the Magic Kingdom on select nights in October.  Even if you have park hopper tickets, season passes, annual passes, multi-day park tickets, you will need to purchase a ticket for this event.  No other ticket or pass will get you in except the Halloween party pass.  The event runs about $37 for adults (which in Disney terms is anyone over 9 years old), and about $30 for children between 3 and 9.  If you wait until the day of the event and purchase at the gate, the price goes up to $42 for adults and $35 for children.  Remember, some nights do sell out so this may not even be an option for you.

The Magic Kingdom closes early on the days of the party and is transformed into a not too spooky but definitely Halloweeny fantasy land.  As you arrive at the Magic Kingdom, you will be given a trick or treat bag so you can collect the many goodies that await you, but the goodies here are not just in the form of sugary delicious treats. 

One of the best events during the party, and it is so good it happens twice during the evening, is the Boo To You parade.  If you show up about 10 minutes early in front of the Liberty Bell, you can hear Mr. Knickerbocker retell the story of the Headless Horseman.  By the time the story has been told, the Headless Horseman rides down the parade route, basically clearing the way for dozens of Halloween themed floats and characters, all of whom are wearing their Halloween costumes. 

During the evening, you can take a Halloween riverboat ride, where you will be treated to story tellers telling Halloween favorites, strolling musicians, and again a character or two in Halloween costume.  This is a run ride and nothing like what you experience at other times at the park.

There are mask making stations for the children, face painting, fortune tellers, and a complimentary family photo of your little ghouls dressed for the event.  And do dress for the event – you will not be out of place, as grown ups and children alike dress for the festivities. 

Instead of Tinkerbell ringing in the fireworks, a Halloween edition of Fantasy in the Sky is introduced by a witch on her broomstick.  You will also find Halloween storytellers at various points throughout the park.

There are conflicting reports on Halloween candy during the party.  We have been every year for the past 10 years, and we have never walked away feeling we didn’t get enough candy.  Towards the end of the evening, most of the treat stations are literally putting fistfulls of candy into your bag.  At last year’s party, we had our 3 year old in a stroller (which they provided for free the night of the party!), and while in line for our photo, Disney castmembers were taking turns trying to get as many pieces of candy into the stroller as they could from varying distances.  Some of the candy is not “awesome” candy – we did get  a number of jaw breakers last year – but there is always chocolate and other good candies.  You will find in Toontown, the treat stations are all very close together and you can collect not only quite a bit of candy, but quite a few character photos, as many of the characters are out and about.

Oh, and one more thing – if you can, as soon as you have your tickets in hand, call and get Advanced Dining Reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern.  I will tell you all about the restaurant in another post, but it is one of our favorites, and if you make your ADR just before the party starts or early in the evening, you can step right out of the restaurant after having an all you can eat meal surrounded by Disney characters in Halloween costumes, and get an awesome spot for the parade and the Headless Horseman. 

Most of the attractions are open during this event.  It’s a definite must for our family.

Getting Ready to Head to Disney World!

There is no place on earth I am more fond of than Disney World.  I have a lot of happy memories there.  My first trip, with my dad, my sister Bean, and my grandmother was one of the best vacations ever.  We stayed at the Contemporary Hotel in a garden wing and did things like the Luau, stayed up to watch the fireworks, ate dinner late in the evening like “grown ups”. 

My first real vacation with Jim was to Disney World, about a year before we got married.  We were young, thin, and excited enough to make the trip from South Jersey to Orlando in about 16 hours.  We honeymooned in Orlando, and had a few romantic days at Walt Disney World.

We have gone at Christmas time, enjoying Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party and the “snowflakes” falling on our nose and eyelashes as we wandered down Main Street.  We try to go at Halloween every year for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party, something we have enjoyed since our oldest daughter was just a little girl.  For the first time, we even went at Easter last year. 

It is my goal to stay at every Disney World resort hotel, and in recent years, after staying many times with my in-laws, and usually at a Marriott owned hotel, we have begun making my dream come true.  We have enjoyed visits to the Pop Century resort, Caribbean Beach resort, All Star Movies, and especially memorable stays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, where we enjoyed a savanna view room and the Contemporary, where we had a tower room over looking Cinderella’s Castle at the Magic Kingdom, and I had an incredibly magical experience.  I am currently trying to finagle a stay at another of the hotels for one or two nights in the early stages of our next trip.  Maybe Port Orleans?

Another goal – much harder to accomplish – is eating my way around the world.  We have enjoyed so many wonderful meals – and some not so wonderful – and there are so many more meals to be had!   We have hardly scratched the surface in terms of the culinary delights that abound at Walt Disney World.

In just a few weeks, we will be headed down to Disney World again.  This is the first time we are going without Annual Passes, which we will not purchase because we have a daughter starting high school, where she will be unable to take as many vacations as we have in the past.  I’m so sad by this, I can’t tell you.  Convincing my husband to take a trip to Disney World has always been a matter of just saying “But we already have the passes, it will only cost a few dollars for a hotel…”   I don’t know what it will take now. 

Over the next few blog postings, I am hoping to share my tips and my experiences at the most magical place on earth.  I will talk about my favorite restaurants, my most magical moments, and some hidden treasures that you might normally overlook.  I am looking forward to reminiscing 🙂

Trip to Ohio and the Columbus Zoo

Okay, long trip to go to the zoo, and I wish Jim had been able to spend at least SOME time with us.  He spent his whole time at the convention center for the gaming convention, and didn’t make it back to the hotel until late in the evening.  That left me pretty tired, having to deal with all three kids in an unfamiliar area for three days.

The Columbus Zoo was awesome!   I absolutely loved it.  The weather was perfect, at about 80 degrees and sunny, and there were lots of shady trees to help keep it cool even in the sunshine.  The zoo is broken into areas like “Australia”, “North America”, “Pachyderms”, etc. and the environments of the areas where we visited seemed very natural.  Admission was much cheaper than the Philadelphia Zoo, where we usually go, and it was $9 for adults to get in, $5 for kids 2-11, and free under 2.  Once inside, there were things you could do that required additional tokens, which were sold for $1 each, but everything we did was only $1 – like the boat ride, the carousel, and the nectar to feed the Lorikeets.

We missed some of the zoo, so I really think if we get to go again, we will plan to be there as the gates open at 9 AM.  We went right to see pachderms, since Eilis wanted to see them, and as a result, missed the whole North America section.  There are two sections being renovated as well – including the Gateway to Asia, which looks like it will be nice when it’s finished. 

Included within the zoo is the aquarium.  Not huge, like the Baltimore Aquarium, this was just the right size for the family.with smaller kids.  They had some beautiful, colorful fish, manatees, sea turtles, and some nice displays.  Again, not extensive, but a nice taste of an aquarium. 

We ate lunch there, and we didn’t see too many tables outside, but we were lucky to find one shaded in a nice area outside of the food court.  The lines were a little long at the food court, but I got through okay.  I can’t comment too much on the fare – we had the basic hot dogs and chicken nuggets with fries.  Not much can go wrong with that!  

On the way out, they gave us $5 off a visit to the Six Flags Wyandot Lake park right next door.  It seemed like it had a lot of water rides, something Eilis is too little for yet, I think.  Maybe on a return trip.

We stayed at the Springhill Suites in Gahanna, Ohio.  I like Springhill because you do have more room to stretch out than in a regular hotel room.  I was VERY impressed with the breakfast.  They advertised it as a continental breakfast, so you figure you will get bagels and muffins and doughnuts.  This buffet though had make your own waffles, and for the low-carbers, there was sausage patties and eggs each morning.  Bad thing – no cold water to drink, although for $1.25, you could buy a bottle in their “market”. 

The housekeeping left something to be desired.  I ended up coming back each evening having to wash the dishes in the sink – with no dish soap.  But they never replaced our drinking glasses.  They also insisted on only giving us 3 towels for a room full of 5 people.  That sucked.  I hate when they skimp on towels.

Again, overall, a nice trip, but I would have rather had even a few more hours with Jim.  The kids would have loved it if he had gone swimming with them.