Life's Sweet Journey: Disney
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Disney. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Disney Lesson #3: The Stranger I Married

So, I have been away for a while. I have missed this space and thought about it often. Life has been busy, changes galore and this space has been set on the back burner (along with a lot of life) unfortunately. I will be sitting in the car on my way from one job to another and be writing in my head, but then I have no ability to sit down and jot down all the words!  I plan to change that!! 

Schedules have settled and I intend to carve out time to say 'YES' to this, mostly because it is good for my soul. My soul craves it. My goal for the last few weeks is to work on my ability to say 'no', I promise you it is very small... minuscule really, but it has been getting stronger! I want to say 'no' to certain things so that I have the time to say 'yes' to others, like this space. I figured the best way to jump back in was with another one of those wonderful lessons that Disney has been teaching me. Mostly because it is light and fun and gives me a chance to warm-up before diving into the meatier bits. Here we go... 
Disney can be a place full of wonderful and glorious surprises!! And then, it can be a place full of shocking, life-questioning surprises!! The kind that leave you rethinking if you know the person standing next to you in the line; the one you came with, not the actual stranger in the party behind you. Ok, so maybe the following story is not that dramatic but I found out a shocking truth in my husband!! The man I love and have been with for nearly a decade does not know that there are only 7 dwarfs. Hold the phone!! Say, what?! I was shocked!! So shocked that the moment needed immediate documentation and then of course its own spotlight here!! He was not fond of the instragram post that followed and I am sure will not be thrilled by another call out, but look at that face?! He originally found his lack of Disney knowledge humorous! Did he not read the sign on the ride as we walked in "Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs Mine Train"?! Apparently not, for there we are standing in line to finally ride it. We are playing with these spinning barrels that paint pictures of each dwarf on the ceiling when you spin them. He then calmly turns to me and says, "there are 9 right?" "9?! Not there are not 9! Are you joking? You are joking, right?" Well folks, he was not joking! The man was serious. His justification? "Well I have never seen the whole thing, only parts." My life!! Questions... so many questions!! Next time we have one of my nieces, you can guess what movie we will be watching! 

********************************* Disney Insider Tips *************************************************
Said night in question, left with many new Disney revelations! 
1.) Short Mine Train Wait Times: We finally got to ride the Mine Train!! We have been trying to get fastPasses forever, but the ride is always stand-by only every time we try to book them and we haven't been willing to wait in the over 60 minute line. We usually go on a week night and the line is still usually that long if not longer. Well we hit the timing just right, just as the electrical parade was ending and fireworks were starting. The line stated 20 minutes, but only took about 10. We got to watch fireworks both from the line and on the ride. It was wonderful!! 
2.) Reasonably Priced, Good Food: At Gaston's Tavern they have a pork shank for $9 and a warm cinnamon bun for around $4. This is the perfect stop for a meal!! Plus, it is plenty enough to feed 2. There were no long lines, it was a beautiful spot to sit and the food was amazing!! I loved the cinnamon bun (at least the gooey bits, some parts were bready), but the pork shank was great! Better than pork shank we have had at some nice restaurants. It was moist, juicy and filling. The pork shank would have been enough for the two of us, but I really wanted the sweet treat! That could mean a good meal for two for under $5 a person if, unlike me, your sweet tooth doesn't need filling

Friday, July 25, 2014

5 Summer Happies!!

Hey, there! It's Friday and it's a good day! The sun is shining, my "to do" list is not that long and I plan to soak up some of this last bit of summer goodness!!

I can't believe summer is close to it's end. The flexibility of more free time has been really nice, but I am excited for this upcoming school year and the new adventures it is going to bring (more on that soon). So I thought in all of the lingering summer glory, I would share with you 5 of my favorite summer happies!!
1.) Disney!!
Moments of stolen splendor on summer nights, like in yesterday's post, make my heart so light and happy! And mostly I am loving my MagicBands!! So much so that the other day, I wore two!! Our new customized ones had just came in, so we had brought both in case the new ones hadn't linked yet. Well they had, so I rocked them! Think I might set a new Disney trend! If you are a Disney fan like myself, and live close enough that evening trips are possible, I highly recommend getting an annual pass of some kind. You are probably thinking - just like I did- that the price is to ridiculous, but if you know you will go, it practically pays for itself. It is one of the best Christmas gifts I have ever gotten.
2.) A good book!!
This is a summer essential!! Perfect for sitting outside (or in on a rainy day) with a sweet tea in hand, getting drawn into another world. I am currently reading through the Beautiful Creatures series and I couldn't recommend it more. More on my summer reading list in upcoming weeks, because I have read some great ones (Unwritten was one of my favorites). Next up on my list: The Book Thief. Reviews?
3.) Sunshine and sweet tea!!
So I know this technically 2-in-1, but it is the perfect combination!! I have not been able to make it to the beach much this summer, but I love to be outside (even in the muggy Florida heat), just as long as I have something to keep me cool! I am loving the new Arnold Palmer Coolatta from Dunkin Donuts, but I think my favorite cool down drink is still Starbucks shaken green tea and lemonade, sweetened of course!! I love that my Starbucks knows what I am coming in for and many days you can find me sitting outside in the sunshine, sipping my green tea and reading my book. It's a nice little break in my day!!
4.) Sunless tanner!!
Because I haven't made it to the beach as much as I would have liked, this body of mine is nice and pasty. The Rodan and Fields sunless tanner has become my new friend!! I have tried other sunless tanners in the past and they never worked. They were streaky or looked orange and so I stopped using them. A friend gave this to me to try and I was hooked. So much so, that I now use a lot of the Rodan and Fields products. I usually use three coats (top picture is 2 coats) as I like that color tone the best, one coat will just make a slight difference. I also recommend if you are using it for an event, like a wedding, that you use it on your arms too. Otherwise, you will wind up like me the first time I did it, with super tan legs and a white upper body. Lesson learned (see below)!  
5.) Trip time!!
I love our summer trips!! I look forward to them all year long!! They aren't extravagant, some aren't all that restful, but they are perfect!! We have already been to Tennessee; that's our 'rest-and-renew-and-catch-up-with-wonderful-family' trip. Pretty soon we will be leaving, with 3 kids in tow, for a week in the mountains of North Georgia. This trip is not so restful, but it is wonderful in it's own right. I can't wait for time with my 3 loves (4 I guess, if you count Babe haha), adventures and fun!!
And here is a little happy for you! I ended up with two copies of The Book Thief. I am a book hoarder!! And figured there might be one of you out there who, like me, hasn't gotten to see much sun this summer! So enjoy a little giveaway for your Friday! We can be book reading buddies! 

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Disney Lesson: #2 The Broken Ice Cream Promise

The evening started out with a little hesitancy. When I picked my niece up from school her teachers told me she hadn't napped.

"Oh, no!" thought #1! 
It had also been water play day... water play + no nap = "Oh, no" thought #2. 

The last time I had planned to take her to Disney and she hadn't napped, her response when I asked her if she still wanted to go had been, "Not today. Let's go home and eat yogurt." Then she had been asleep by 8 (which can be early for her). So needless to say, I was a little nervous about how this Disney evening was going to go! But she said she wanted to go, so I booked us some FastPasses and away we went.

Oh how God most have known that I needed a wonderfully, magical Disney evening!! The night was perfect! We flew through our FastPasses, the lines were short, we booked more FastPasses and then by miracle of miracles May was tall enough to ride the Goofy coaster! And she loved it!! We went 4 times!!
Note the before pictures skepticism and the after pictures enthusiasm!!

Uncle Andrew finally completely defeated Zurg!! We watched fireworks while riding on Dumbo and we shut the park down!! What I had assumed would be a quick, cranky trip had turned into all night fun without a single whine or complaint! We were all smiles, all the time! And we had no stroller!! People, it was perfection! Well, almost...

You see, because we were all so happy and she was so good I told her she could have an ice cream. We planned to get it on the way out of the park and enjoy it on the way back to the car. Well, the final parade was making its way down Main Street USA and that held us up. While fighting the parade crowd and squeezing through tiny spaces Makaylin had put her head down on Babe's shoulder and was somewhat drifting off. They had gotten ahead of me and when I finally caught up they were at the popcorn stand, where there was no ice cream like he has assumed there may be. So he says to me "she will be ok, I doubt she will even remember" (the ice cream had been promised much earlier, while we were eating dinner) and I thought to myself - this probably isn't wise, but maybe he's right- and so I said "alright". And just like I am sure you are all thinking, as soon as we stepped one foot out of the park she asks "Aunt Mel, what about my ice cream?" And my stomach just sank!

We walked to the ferry and I told her that I was so sorry, that we left the park but that maybe there would be some on the other side. I could have sworn there was an ice cream cart over there before (Dear Mr. Disney, I promise if you put one there it will be utilized). The whole boat ride back she only asked once for the ice cream, but the look on her face just broke my heart. It would have been perfect; just a little Mickey Ears ice cream bar in hand for her ferry ride back! She had been so amazing and the night had been just what I needed in the midst of a pretty rough week. And I felt like I failed her.
We got back to the transportation station and we go in the little corner shop where I am praying- praying- that they have ice cream. They don't. So I am starting to let her pick out a candy treat, when the guy behind the counter says "wait! I think there is an ice cream vending machine around by the bathrooms. It's not Disney brand, but it's ice cream!" We shout"thanks" as we head out the door. And there it is in all it's ice cream glory... except it's the one vending machine that doesn't take credit cards and what do you know, we only have $2 in cash and the ice cream is $2.75. And so after getting her hopes up again, I have to tell her we still don't get ice cream. She asks why, and that is where our lesson began.

So I tell her what happened, that Uncle Andrew thought she was going to fall asleep and so he left the park without it and that we made a mistake. We talked about how good she had been and how sorry we were she couldn't have her ice cream, but how proud we were of her for being such a big girl. And she looks up at me with her sleepy little eyes and says "he made a mistake?"
"Yes, baby he did. Everybody makes mistakes, even Uncle Andrew." Note: I am somewhat letting him take the fall.
"Ok, well dat's ok. I'm sorry he made a mistake, but it's ok. We can have my ice cream another time."
God love her! God love that night! God love Disney! 

We went back to the shop and walked out with an Ariel Pez. We loaded the tram, ran to the car as we always do (me trying to catch the two of them, always unsuccessfully) and she was asleep within 2 minutes. And while we did learn a little bit about mistakes and that it's ok to make them, I think the biggest Disney lesson from this trip was...

Lesson #2: If you promise the kid ice cream, follow through! Especially because, when they take it so well and don't throw a fit, it hurts your heart that much more!!
*********************************Inside Disney Tip!!*********************************
Dumbo is our new favorite spot to watch the fireworks inside the park! If we stay for the fireworks at all, we will usually try to head over via monorail to the Grand Floridian and watch from a chair on the beach. We don't like the crowds and prefer to watch in a more secluded spot. Dumbo and the circus area were perfect for that!! They felt like they were right over head and the area had very little people in it. There was absolutely no wait for Dumbo. She loved it there and we loved it there! I would highly recommend this spot for anyone looking to enjoy the fireworks without all the fuss!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Married and Dating

So yesterday, I took someone on a date... 
Not just any ole' date, but to Disney. I must say, since getting our passes I had been planning to do just this. More of a lunch time, mid-day treat type date. However, yesterday I had planned for Babe to join me. Well, due to the soccer game and poor communication skills, I ended up flying solo. So I packed a backpack with all the things dear to "me time"- my books and camera- and I headed on my way. 
I must admit it was strange. Disney is not typically the place people go alone. I did get a few looks while sitting at dinner, with my book as my only companion. I think mainly because I chose to do a seated dinner. I went to Tony's Town Square Restaurant and I would quite recommend this quaint place. I only ordered the tomato and mozzarella salad, but it was delicious and the smells were delightful! 
I had never been and can't wait to try it again. The hostess even found me a seat, even though at first there hadn't been any she thought she could offer me. Following dinner I walked around, planning to just sit and read. I instead decided to take a little Haunted Mansion ride. Yes, the one ride I chose to go it alone was a haunted house. It was perfect! It was dark, I sprawled out across the seat, laid my head against the side rest and let the darkness drawl me in and lull me into a stupor. I rode the boat both over to the park and back and read my book each time. I must admit it did feel kind of fog like, then again this whole week really has for some reason, but it gave me time to ponder to myself as to why. It gave me time to reflect on myself, reflect on where I am at this point in my life and reflect on what true alone time really means. 

I have time alone, but the way I use it it often leaves me outside of my own head. I often frequent lunch spots alone, but mostly those moments find me enveloped in a world on paper- nestled between the pages of a book, cozy in someone else's story. Time to walk with only my thoughts to fill my head was almost surreal. Surreal, but needed. 
So I dare you to date yourself!
Married, single, dating, kids, no kids... wherever you find yourself in life, date yourself! Get to know the you now. I doubt she is the same you as 6 months ago or maybe even the same you as yesterday. I plan to continue dating myself. Just maybe not at the Magic Kingdom. While great, the getting there was a little more complicated than I wanted. But Epcot! I will date myself at Epcot. Explore my way around the "world", while I explore the one inside my head. I am excited, I am scared and I am intrigued. I am intrigued to see where these dates may lead! 

If you took yourself on a date where would be the first place you would want to go? 

Friday, June 6, 2014

Summer in a bucket!

Summer!! Summer is here, the sun is here. Florida feels as hot as Hades and it only gets hotter from here. I have one week left of work at j.o.b #1 and while I don't have the summer off from the other, a more flexible schedule is definitely high on my list of summer perks! And with all that a little bit of free time I finally have time to check off tons of these 5 big plans! 
5 on Friday: 
Top 5 Summer Bucket List Plans! 

1.) Read- This may not sound huge to some, but in my world time to sit with a book and not feel like I have to stop after just one chapter seems like utter perfection! I keep adding to my book list but I don't ever seem to be able to check anything off.  I am currently working my way through the Beautiful Creatures series and so far I am loving it. 
2.) Get Outta' Town- I can't wait to kiss the Orlando city limit sign good-bye. I can't wait to spend hours in the car, with nothing to do but drive. I am even looking forward to one of those drives done with 3 children filled with "are we there yets?" in tow. I love road trips! Always have. And right now nothing seems better than uninterrupted road leading me onwards to my peaceful place (TN) and our kid-filled-week-of-fun that closes out each summer (Big Canoe, GA).

3.) Soak in the sunshine- Beach, lake, pool... on a boat, on a float, in a chair, not a care; vitamin D, need I say more? 
4.) Disney Days- I am looking forward to more flexibility to use our passes. While I have a feeling that the majority of those extra days will be spent at the water parks, I am just excited to have more time to go. 
5.) Projects galore- I am excited for time to check off projects I have been wanting to get done. I really want to use an old broken crib and make a outdoor swinging day bed. Other projects on the horizon: another book wreath, make a farm house table, pallet patio furniture, paint our corn hole boards all cute (Babe may argue this point), and finally get more pictures hung around the house.

Maybe not the most superb bucket list in the world, but this summer I am looking for simple; simple and rejuvenating and flexible! 

What about your summer plans? Any good books on your reading recommendation list? And while your at it how about try this one out? 

I am not usually a time period reader and I figured I would share it with someone who was. It is up for grabs for one lucky reader. 
Just enter below and it could find its way to you!

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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Maleficent?! Magnificent!

I admit, after reviews from both critics and peers alike I was nervous about seeing Maleficent. To start I am not a huge fan of Angelina Jolie and I didn't want to see a Disney classic butchered. However, there have not been many movies I had wanted to see in theaters lately and this was one I had originally been excited about. When we decided to go I was still skeptical, but on the way I caught an instagram from a blog friend whose judgement I trusted and said she loved it... I couldn't agree more. BUT, it may not be for the reasons one may assume.
*** This is the point where I encourage you to stop reading if you don't want slight spoiler alerts***
Maleficent was more a change of story than it was a second view point and it was a story I found more believable than the original Sleeping Beauty story line.

1.) Maleficent was less good vs. evil and more about the struggle within each of us that pulls us closer to one path over the other. We were brought up to believe that Maleficent is an evil fairy, born that way and set in wicked ways. I find it harder to believe that one is simply born evil. There is usually something, some event, that hardens a heart and turns it cold. That is where Maleficent's story begins. She has been hurt, defeated and scorned by the one person she trusted more than anything.

2.) The innocence of a child is enough to warm any heart. Even when one has been scorned to the point where the world may think there is no return  I believe that there is a bit of that light that lingers, tucked deep inside the cobwebbed corners. A child comes along and dusts those corners with each smile, each small and trusting gesture. Something sparks in the heart of an adult that wants to protect that innocence; to nurture it in the hope that somehow the next generation can "get it right."

3.) True loves kiss... True loves kiss, the kind that will wake a soul, will NEVER be one from a lingering feeling of a one chance meeting; that is true lusts kiss. While I love Disney movies, that's where there have usually seemed to get it wrong. True loves kiss is the kiss that lingers on a cheek after 50 years weathered together. It is a kiss on a forehead of a fevered child being tucked in bed. It is a kiss on a temple as tears of all the mistakes made that brought about pain and hurt roll down the side of a face that would do anything to change the story, to rewrite the past and take back words said out of anger. That is the true, true loves kiss.

4.) Pride will always come before the fall and it was the ultimate downfall in this movie. It began the original struggle between the humans and the Moor people. It took the life from a man who wanted nothing more than title of king. He sought the crown and gave up everything to keep it. King Stephan didn't wish to save his daughter. Had he stopped for one second to see past his pride he would have realized that redemption and forgiveness has already saved her. He couldn't see past his own pride and that led to his ultimate destruction. When we put our pride before everything else we miss out on the ultimate story God has waiting for us.

Ultimately I thought Maleficent made for a wonderful movie experience; one that left we liking change for a minute and that usually does not happen.

What are your thoughts on Maleficent? Like it, love it, just so/so? 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Patience and Pirates and Disney Virtues!!!

Disney! There is no other word that I really need to use to describe it than that. I love Disney... the magic, the wonder, everything. It is, in my mind, truly one of the happiest places on Earth! Which is why, when Babe got us annual passes for Christmas, I was one stoked lady!! We waited to start using them because the hubs was finishing his MBA and wanted to wait until he was just about done so that we would have every free weekend possible to enjoy it in all its splendor. I have grown up with passes due to work my father had done for Disney , however, we were always at the mercy of one of my parents being able to get us in. It was so nice being able to just get up and go when we had my niece the other day.  And so while at DisneyQuest, as we waited in line (a very short one at that), the idea came to me to document this year with all the wonderful and wise things Disney has to offer. Because I truly feel that while it is a place of play and imagination, Disney can also teach many a wonderful lesson.  And so begins my first installment of "A Year of Disney Living"!

Patience... it's a wonderful virtue.
Coming by it, is a little tougher, especially for children. So how exactly do we go about teaching it? Well, I say let Disney help! There we were, at DisneyQuest, about to get on Pirates of the Caribbean for the second time. The line was just a bit longer than the first time we got on, but as lines go it was nothing to scoff at (maybe 10 minutes tops). I was holding Makaylin when she asked, "why are we standing here? Where is Pirates?" So I responded that we had to wait, which of course was answered with a why. I do not know how it came to me in the split second, my normal reaction would probably have been to say "well Disney like make us wait on things", instead (and it shocked me too) I answered "Well baby, Disney likes to teach us about patience. We have to have patience. Do you know what patience means?" "Waiting in line?!" "Well, yes waiting in line and waiting for other things in life, without getting upset. It means waiting nicely" "Oh ok, patience. Waiting for pirates!" And there is was, patience and pirates and a lesson... just standing there in Disney line.  Yup, sometimes patience is all about waiting for those pirates.
Disclaimer: Be careful on the backlash! As we were putting Makaylin to sleep the next evening, after allowing her extra time to watch her Goofy movie with Uncle Andrew and then two more minutes to clown around, I was delivered with this response upon telling her it was time to kiss Uncle Andrew goodnight, go sing songs and say prayers... "Aunt Mel, you have to have paaatience!! I said patience Aunt Mel!!" Welp, there it was.  She remembered, she had the gist, but somehow our translation got just a little lost. Next lesson: listening ears and whose in charge (this one is forever ongoing)! 
***DisneyQuest thoughts for toddlers*** 
Originally I was a little skeptical about bringing her to DisneyQuest. Mainly because she was asking for the "castle Disney". However, it was a busy weekend and we didn't want to fight lines. We told her we were talking her to a new Disney. She LOVED it!!! It had been years since I had been to DisneyQuest and all I really remember was the roller coaster simulator. While there was a fair bit she couldn't do the stuff she could do could have kept her entertained all day long. She could ride the river raft ride and pull the handle on the canons in Pirates of the Caribbean.  I was worried I would have to hold her steady, but she did just fine and I was able to play myself, while Babe steered the boat. She also soaked up every minute we would let her in the kiddie arcade game section. She found a kiddie coaster that just vibrated and moved left to right while you watched on the screen and we literally had to pry her off of it!
It was also very under crowded.  Our longest line was maybe 10 minutes. 
Overall, we loved it, she loved and we would totally take her there again!! She even remarked on our elevator ride between floors "This is the the so fun Disney!!" 

Friday, May 31, 2013

Disney Dreams and Ugly Crys

Day 31 people! We made it!! This challenge was definitely an undertaking. It was a crash course for me in the world of blogging but I have enjoyed it.  It challenged me, opened me and brought me to many great new reads. I have loved following along with so many of you. 

Today we are to share a vivid memory and as I look back through my memory bank I realize that a lot of my big moments get somewhat blurry. I have flashes of vivid moments, some I will always cherish and some that I would rather forget, but for the most part some of the memories get hazy.  My wedding day? A blur! Those moments that have shaped and transformed me seem to have this filter through with which I view them. I think that trying to process all of my surroundings in so many of those moments just became to much for my brain to process and so it compartmentalized them. I can remember a lot of great things about that day but trying to piece it altogether was a process. It if for reasons such as those that I will be forever grateful for cameras. They capture memories and allow us to revisit them in all their vivid glory.  

One day in particular that, while it has its hazy moments too, is most vivid for me would be the day we got engaged. I remember that morning waking up at Animal Kingdom Lodge and knowing yet not knowing at the same time what this day could bring.  I was a wreck of nerves.  It had always been my dream to get engaged at the Magic Kingdom and given the fake out the night before I was assuming this might be the big day. I remember dressing down not wanting to anticipate anything (which in hindsight was dumb dumb because I was a hot and sweaty messy in that shirt but oh well) and leaving the hotel.  We rode the bus to meet my mom at the park so that she could let us in (special pass that only she and my dad can use). She walked halfway down Main Street with us, hugged us both and left (though she didn't want to) and we continued on towards the castle.  And that is when the following began... 

There had been a Photopass man there waiting and called us over to him to ask if we wanted a picture. And then the words began, those I can't really remember but I am sure you can get the gist. All I knew was I have a sweater tied around my waist. My mind says, "you can not have a sweater wrapped around your waist in these pictures!" so I logically untied it a threw it off.  Duh! Because that is so the thought process for a moment like this. 

For some reason I could not unclasp my hands from behind my back. Finally, they decided to unlatch and cooperate so that he could slip the ring onto my finger.  I guess I said yes, that part is kind of blurry. 

At some point I kissed him and there were fireworks. The timing was not planned it was just one of those things. They were part of the show going on at the castle. Those were followed by a street celebration in which they asked any newlyweds or newly engaged couples to come out and dance in the streets. So I did! 

Then we called my mom who came right back. She had wanted to stay and watch because she had her suspicions too but didn't know how to ask Babe if she could stay without me knowing. The following hugs and tears ensued. 

And then I talked to my daddy and that is when the above ugly cry came about. He had known as Andrew had made sure to ask his permission and so we are both crying on the phone.  My mom had not known that he knew, see it is kind of hard to tell her things and still have them stay secrets. 

Then we took some pics and celebrated with this little schemer who was a part of the whole plot.  This is January! She was hiding in the bushes snapping all these pictures and had been waiting for us to show up for two hours.  She is the one who got the Disney Photopass man in on the scheme. 

We then enjoyed our day as a newly engaged couple and sealed the deal with a 'blessing of the rings' from Mickey and Minnie themselves! It was all in all a perfect day and a fabulous memory. Babe had done himself - and my Disney loving heart - good! 

And now I sign off in hopes of seeing many of you on Monday because I will be resting my weary fingers this weekend! Thanks for sticking with me! 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Disney Dreams and Runaways

It's Day 18 and we are to share a vivid childhood memory.  There are quite a few I can think of and for the most part they are good and blissful and filled with childhood wonder.  The following story is in no way a direct reflection of any of that.  Instead you will read a tale of a runway, an interstate, and the police.  You have been warned! And no the reason for running away had nothing to do with the fact that my mother decided to dress me as her twin in the above picture. Bless the dear daughter that I will probably end up doing the same to as some point in time.

This is a story that has been told time and time again.  By me, by my parents, by pretty much anyone who has heard it to anyone who hasn't.  The story has not changed once in all it's many years.  It needs no embellishment.  You see as a young child I had a flair for the dramatic.  I tended to run away on occasion when I felt as if my poor soul had been violated.  This is the beginning of all of that (or at least the beginning of me running away to some place outside the neighborhood).

The scene starts like this: I was right around 8 years old.  I had this neat bicycle with pink and purple glitter writing.  My older sister was staying with us for the weekend (she lived with her mom during the week) and I idolized her.  I can't remember everything leading up to it but she called me a rat or something of the sort and I thought that she liked my friend more than me (because my friend was just kind of cooler and a lot more like my sister) and so I was upset.  I got on my bike and decided that I was moving to Disney.  I knew the general direction and so off I set.  Me, my 8 year old self, and my bicycle.

En route to Disney I passed a neighbor as I was leaving the neighborhood and told him where I was headed.  He seemed to have no intention of stopping me as he assumed - I'm sure - that I was just some kid playing pretend.  Crisis averted, it was meant to be that I should live at Disney.  I took the long way around (by mistake) because I went down a one way exit from the airport going to opposite direction (yup, riding against the flow of traffic).  After about an hour I finally arrived at the Bee Line (now called the Beach Line) that takes you towards the beaches or Disney (even at 8 I knew how to make my way to the land of magic and happiness).  However, the Bee Line is a toll road highway.  I 1.) did not have change to pay the toll and 2.) did not know if they would allow me to pass through on my bike.  So, as any 8 year old would do, I stopped my bike on the side of the highway to try to figure out how I would solve this problem.

As my young brain is processing this dilemma, the following occurred.  My mom has realized I am missing and called the police.  An off duty cop who was taking his step-son home saw a young kid on the side of a highway and thought, "hmmm, maybe I should see what is going on." Said cop (really nice guy), in his uniform, pulls over and comes to talk to me.  He asks me what I am doing.  Oh man, now I have to process quickly.  So I tell him that I am just out for a bike ride and I live in the apartments that are right off the entrance to the highway (good gracious was I stubborn and persistent; I just freaking lied to the Popo).  He says that I should not be on the highway and to wait where I was.  This side of the story I know from my mother.  Cop gets on his cop radio and calls into dispatch, who is still on the phone with my mom, he relays that there is a young girl on the highway at least an hours bike ride from our house (my mom didn't know I had been gone so long). The dispatcher tells this information to my mom who answers "oh there is no way that could be her." She was wrong! After a detailed description of the child and the bike my mother realizes that her child is on a highway.  I am then loaded into the car with the cop, who offered to take me home (a ten minute drive), and his step-son. And that pretty much sums up my daring escape to the land of happiness.  In hindsight it is a fun story to tell, but let's pray my future daughter has less of my tendencies and more of her fathers.  

Needless to say I didn't really go anywhere for a while... until the next time I ran away, this time at night and with my younger brother, when we had our Gameboys taken away.  How I am still alive to tell this tale I have no clue but thank the heavens above that I was found by the right people.
What about y'all? Any other fellow runaway aficionados out there?