Monday, February 28, 2011

Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend!

Kylie and I left for our girl’s weekend at Disney World on Thursday evening. The flight went smoothly and we arrived in Orlando about 8pm. We hopped onto the Magical Express Shuttle to get to our resort, All-Star Sports, without delay. Kylie and I were both super excited to be there. I got us checked into the hotel while Kylie chilled in the lobby. The desk staff man, Michael, was so wonderful. I told him that this was a special weekend for Kylie since she was running her first 5k. He made her a button to wear that said “Celebrating – 1st Marathon”, gave her 30 Mickey stickers to give to her classmates and made her her own room key with her name on it for Show and Tell on Monday. That’s why I just love Disney, they do everything they can to make your visit just that much better. Top notch service.

Our room was nice. This was our first time staying at a “value level” resort. The resort was large but not too spread out, the room was regular size and it has at least 2 pools (not that we had time to swim but they were there). The food court seemed too good, Brett would have approved, they sold beer. Only small complaint was there were high school kids everywhere for a flag football tournament but I didn’t notice any noise once we got to our room.

Friday morning we slept in a little, explored the resort, hit the gift shop (got the cutest pink sparkly Mickey bobble-type ears for Kylie and I) and then hopped on the shuttle bus to ESPN Wide World of Sports for the Princess Expo. Weather was good, about 80 degrees. We waited for the expo to open, listened to the Fairy God Mother chat about how being healthy helps make your dreams come true and headed into the expo. Kylie got pixie dust sprinkled in her hair by a “fairy godmother in-training”. We picked up our 5k packets and shirts (mine is too big but they didn’t come in XS and the kids XL was too short looking) and I got my HM packet too. Then we went shopping!! I had saved up some cash and wasn’t going to feel guilty about splurging on some things. I got a pink tech singlet that said “Princes Half Marathon” on it (figured I’d get more wear out of that then any other shirt there). Also picked up a little crown charm for my i-declare necklace, some earrings, another charm, a Princess HM coffee mug, a pink sparkly Bondi Band and a Tinkerbell charm for my shoes and a 5K charm for Kylie’s shoe. The expo got crowded very quickly so we left after an hour. Headed back to the room to drop off our loot and then went to Epcot.

I knew we would need a FastPass for their most popular ride, Soarin’, so we hurried to that ride and got a FP with a return time of 7:10. Glad we got it when we did because they were all gone by 1:00 and I knew Kylie would not want to wait 70 mins in line for that ride – thank goodness for FP’s!! Kylie really wanted to ride the thrill type rides so we rode on Mission Space first. She was pretty nervous because they kept saying “if you are afraid of enclosed spaces or intense rides, please step out of line.” This ride assigns each person in your “cockpit” at job, Kylie was thrilled to be picked pilot. We rode the ride and she laughed and screamed the whole time. She just loved it! Afterwards she said it was the best ride ever. We then rode a few other rides before going to World Showcase.

We started in Canada, where Kylie went straight to the KidCot booth (Epcot knows kids get bored in the World Showcase area so they have these booths set up in each land where they get a paper bear cut-out to color and get a stamp from each country on – genius). We then raced each other to see who could find the booth the fastest in each country. I didn’t do much shopping, just checking things out and enjoying a relaxing afternoon. I did step inside a red phone booth in the UK and was shocked to hear the phone ring! I picked it up and the guy on the other line asked “Are you wearing pink bobble head ears and carrying a Sprite?” LOL! I said yes and he told me to enjoy my visit. Crazy. We did get an autograph from Mulan who asked Kylie about her Celebration 1st Marathon button that she was wearing. Kylie told her that she was running in the 5k the next morning. Mulan said that she was going to be there as well and would be looking for Kylie.

We had dinner reservations at Garden Grill, which was on the other side of Epcot, by Soarin’ so we headed over there about 6. Dinner was fun, the food good too. Pluto, Chip, Dale and Mickey were there so we had pictures and autographs with each one. They also gave Kylie a congratulations card for her “personal triumph” with running the 5k. She was thrilled to receive it.

After dinner, we rode Soarin’, a virtual hang glider ride over California. It was so fun and Kylie really liked it. We also rode Mission Space again and returned to World Showcase to visit the last two lands and get Kylie’s Kidcot stamps. We watched the Turtle Talk with Crush show and he talked to Kylie and I both, it was so funny.  The best part was when Crush told the kids that he found a bikini top and wanted to know what it was used for.  One kid shouted out "Boobie Holder!!"  So funny.  Then we rode Space Ship Earth, the ride up in the big golf ball. That was the end of our night and we were two tired puppies when we got back to the hotel.

Saturday morning, the wake-up call was at 4:30. Disney had the buses running until 6:00 for the 7:00 start of the 5k. I got ready and then woke up Kylie who was jumping out of bed without a hint of tiredness. We put on our tutus and bobble ears and headed to the bus which took us to the start at Epcot. Sidenote - Our friends, the Babcocks, were going to meet us there to cheer Kylie on. The Babcocks are a wonderful family who are our close friends. Rhonda was running the HM with me and John was going to watch Kylie, along with his 5 other children, while we ran the HM on Sunday. There would have been no way for me to take Kylie with me for the weekend if he hadn’t offered to watch her so they were pivotal in our weekend plans. Plus, we wanted to enjoy spending time at MK with them too, it was their first visit!

Kylie and I had fun passing the time by dancing to the DJ music and checking out all the costumes. The race started right on time and Kylie was excited to start running. We saw the Babcocks just past the start and they were cheering so loudly for Kylie. The first mile was pretty congested and boring since it was just around a huge parking lot and some back stage roads. We took a few walk breaks after a ½ mile or so and the humidity started to hit me (whoa, how bad am I going to be feeling during the HM if I was sweating like a pig in the first mile of the 5k??? Must drink water all day today!!) Kylie got pretty bummed and said “I thought I was supposed to be running in Epcot, not like this.” I explained that we’d be inside Epcot just past the 1 mile mark so she was pretty happy to see that mile marker.

We entered the World Showcase right at the beginning of it in Mexico so this perked Kylie up because she knew exactly where we were. Her step went from a shuffle to a bounce. We ran through Mexico and Norway, into China. How excited was Kylie to see Mulan, and it was the same Mulan as last night! And she called Kylie’s name while we were waiting for her and said “Kylie, I’ve been looking for you!!” Kylie was beaming with excitement after that. We also saw Snow White and Dopey outside of Germany, Pocahontas in America, Cinderella in France, Alice and the Mad Hatter in the UK and Aladdin, Jasmine and Abu in Morocco. We had all the characters sign Kylie’s 5k shirt. Since we were stopping at all these people, we were quickly at the end of the pack. Kylie just ran and skipped and danced along the route, all by herself, which was just so special for me to see since the 5k was going to be the highlight of our weekend. I kept an eye on the truck 100 yards behind us, picking up the cones! Once we got out of the World Showcase, we quickly caught up to the other walkers and started passing folks. Kylie was so excited to see the 3 mile sign and the finish line. She took off at a sprint and cross that line with her hands in the air! I did time us, pausing during our breaks and she finished in 36:30!! I got pretty teary eyed when she got her medal, just so proud of my little girl.

We met up with the Babcocks and headed over to MK. Kylie really liked having a few friends to ride the rides with. We hit Dumbo, Small World and Winnie the Pooh right away. Then over to Space Mountain, which was Kylie’s first roller coaster! She loved it! Next up was Buzz Lightyear and Monster’s Inc. Then over to Frontierland to ride Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (which became Kylie’s favorite) and Splash Mountain. Then Adventureland for Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise and Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride. This was long day for everyone so we said goodbye to the Babcocks and went shopping. Kylie picked up a Perry the Platypus and some things for Matthew and Daddy (who were enjoying their boys weekend at home by going to the hardware store, buying soccer equipment and playing Super Mario). We had dinner at Tony’s Restaurant, themed after Lady and the Tramp. We both enjoyed some spaghetti and headed back to the resort for an early bedtime.

Wake-up call came at 2:30. No joke. I was feeling ok, having slept really well. I got myself ready and woke up Kylie at 3:00. The plan was to have the Babcocks meet us at the starting area at 4:30 to give them Kylie while Rhonda and I went to the start. She was pretty confused at first but once she woke up, she got excited. We got on the 3:30 bus and arrived at the starting area about 4:00. I texted Rhonda with meeting spot info and Kylie and I just relaxed on the ground and people watched. Nearly everyone was in costume – tutus, tiara, and dresses galore. The Babcocks arrived at 4:20 and we made the exchange. Rhonda and I headed to the staging area where we were confined in a massive group of people, going nowhere. At about 4:40, they allowed us to start walking to the start. We had been warned in all the pre race paperwork that the walk to the start was very long. They were not joking. It took us at least 20 mins to get there. Rhonda was in Corral B and I was in Corral C (don’t ask me why, she submitted a 2:30 HM time and I sent in a 1:50 but whatever.) The race started on-time with fireworks and the Fairy Godmother wishing us well. There was a 5 min break between corrals starting so we actually started about 6:00 instead of 5:45.

John texted to let us know that he and the kids were just past the start so we kept an eye out for Kylie, who was smart enough to pack a light-up wand. It was easy to pick that out and we yelled to them. The first mile flew by, the crowd wasn’t too bad at this point. I was running at Rhonda’s pace, about 11:30. Just past mile 2, we see a HUGE pirate ship in the median and Capt. Jack with several other pirates were there. So we stopped for pictures, as we did with nearly every other character along the route. Each one had a line between 8-15 people except for Cinderella, whose line was about 20 mins long. We weren’t concerned about our finishing time, we just wanted to have fun and take plenty of pictures. In all, our stops probably added 45 mins on to our time. We were very excited to enter into Magic Kingdom, knowing that our families would be on Main Street, waiting for us. What a thrill it was to run down Main Street with people cheering for us. So exciting. We spotted our group and I grabbed Kylie for a quick pic and we were off again. We saw so many characters, they were all over – Buzz Lightyear, Princess Tiana, Alice and Mad Hatter, Ghosts from Haunted Mansion, Cinderella outside of her castle. I had planned on running through the castle but by this time, we were surrounded by walkers so it was a slow bottle neck, which was disappointing. There was an area set aside right in front for pictures so I got one there. We saw Woody and Jesse in Fronterland and then headed out of the park.

By this time, it’s after 8 so the sun is warming things up. Rhonda tells me that her hip is hurting so we walk quite a bit. Her HR was also on the rise due to the heat (she had a heart attack a few years ago so we had to keep an eye on it). These two problems forced her to walk often. I wasn’t about to leave her so we just did the best that she could. Characters were still about every ½ mile or so at this point. I saw that we were at mile 9 at 8:45. I figured that would put us at the finishing line about 9:45. This made me panic a little because I didn’t ask for a late check out and needed to be out of our room by 11. I hadn’t packed yet and really wanted to shower (I thought we would be finishing about 9:00). I let Rhonda know that I wanted to make sure that we continued to do our best, not just walk it in, which she also wanted to do. The last two miles were brutal for her, very hot, no shade, knee and hip pain too. Everyone around us was walking so when we did run, we ran on the grass to avoid the congestion. I was texting John every mile so he would know when to expect us. I was never so happy to see that Epcot Ball as I was at mile 11 ½. Once we entered Epcot, I got pretty anxious to finish because it was after 9:30. Rhonda was doing her best and we were both happy to see the finish line. We ran across it together, hands in the air, official finishing time was 3:45.34. I grabbed my medal and a water and called John to see where to meet them at. I rushed to find them, thanked him for taking care of Kylie and then Kylie and I ran to the buses, hearing plenty of comments from other runners “How can she be running that hard after just finishing??!!”. While we’re waiting in line, Rhonda calls to say we left our bag with John, which had our room key and other things in it. She offered to meet us at our hotel. We get on the bus and return to the hotel where Rhonda was waiting for us in the lobby with our bag at 10:15. Thanks so much, Rhonda!!!

Kylie and I sprint for the room, again getting plenty of comments from other finishers. I think that was my fastest ¼ mile of the day! We get into the room; I open our bag and instruct Kylie to start piling our stuff into it while I showered. I managed to get showered, packed and out our room by 10:50. That was the highest my heart rate got all morning!!!

I got us checked out, gave our bags to the bell hops to store and we jumped on the shuttle to MK. Stupid me, in my rush to pack, packed our park tickets but the wonderful people in Guest Relations replaced them saving us the trip back to the hotel to search our bags for them. Thanks for saving my butt on that one, Disney!!

Kylie and I spent the rest of the day riding all her favorite rides and some new ones too (Mad Tea Cup Party makes you really dizzy!). We enjoyed a relaxing afternoon, watched the parade and met Princess Tiana. About 4:30, we headed back to the hotel to catch our shuttle to the airport. We were both so tired and so happy.

Kylie thanked me countless times for our “Magical” weekend. Spending so much time with her, doing things that we both enjoy so much is something that we’ll never forget. As she gets older and enters her tween and teenage years, I know we won’t have these kinds of times together as much. So I cherished every second of it and hugged her many times. I love you, Kylie Rose and the best part of my weekend was running with you. You are so a joy in my life!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Kylie and I leave for Disney World in 24 hours!  We are both so excited.  I really hope this weekend with just the two of us will allow us to create memories that we'll always treasure. 

Kylie has been working hard at her running and is very excited to run her first 5k on Saturday morning.  My training for the Princess Half Marathon has been going very well.  My training philosophy for 2011 has been "health, not speed".  So I haven't been doing any speed work but I'm increasing my mileage and staying injury free (or at least not aggravating the ITB and PF that I have now).  I'm up to running 5 days a week and actually feel better then when I was only running 3 days. 

But, this weekend is about Kylie and I having a wonderful time together.  We'll be at Epcot on Friday (after the Princess expo).  Then Saturday we'll have the 5k, which is through Epcot and spend the day with our friends, the Babcocks, at Magic Kingdom.   It's their first time to go to Disney so I get to play tour guide!  my touring plan is actually laminated in my purse......LOL.  Sunday will be the race (John Babcock will watch Kylie while I run with his wife, Rhonda).  And then Kylie and I will spend the rest of the day at Magic Kingdom. 

Stay tuned for pictures and a detailed Race Report!
Our Little Man

We are so proud of Matthew!!  We went to his Pre-K parent/teacher conference yesterday.  His teacher, Miss Cheri, said that Matthew is doing at or above average in all aspects of his class except for handwriting.  He really struggles with handwriting but does the work without complaint.  We're hoping his fingers and wrists will strengthen as he gets older, which will help out his handwriting.  Miss Cheri said Matthew is a leader in the class and other kids like to be around him.  It's so nice to hear someone else say how good your child is.
Here is what Miss Cheri wrote about Matthew:
"Matthew is an incredibly happy, fun boy to be around.  He is very social and has many friends in our class.  he listens well to instructions and always participates in group activities and discussions.  he works really hard on his "scoops" and is very proud of his accomplishments.  we love having him in our class and wish him well next year in Kindergarten."

Friday, February 04, 2011

Ice Storm of the Decade!

Wow, we got hit with a major ice storm this week.   We have plenty of warning so I went to the grocery store and got lots of food.  I was worried about us losing power so I stocked up.   Monday night it started with freezing rain which caused school for both kids to be canceled.  Tuesday was dry but about an inch of ice coated everything.  Brett stayed home, as did most of Indianapolis.  I did break free to run at the gym, the main road was fine.  About 2 miles in, Brett texted me to say that the rain/sleet was starting up again so I quit at 4 miles to head home.  Although I had only been gone for an hour, the roads were getting much worse.  I was glad to get home.   School was canceled for Wednesday by 4:00 on Tuesday.  We could hear the sleet bouncing off the house for several hours and the wind was picking up too.
Wednesday morning, we woke up to an additional inch of ice plus some snow on top of that.  Brett stayed home again.  The kids were getting cabin fever so we made some cookies and kept playing Wii and watching tv.  Again that afternoon I was able to get to the gym safely.  School was canceled for the third day that afternoon.  Although the main roads were fine, the side roads, parking lots and sidewalks were an ice rink and just not safe for children to walk on. 
Thursday brought a better day.  Brett was able to go to to work and I took the kids in the morning to the gym.  They were so ready to get out of the house.  After that we went back home and I started to tackle the driveway.  It took all the ice melt we had and 3 full hours of serious work to get it cleared.  But we couldn't wait for the ice to melt on it's own, we're expecting more snow and cold temps for the next few days.
Church has been closed all week so we hosted our life group at our house.  I quickly remembered why we have it at the church now, all those kids and adults are just too much for one house!  But they all said they had fun and it was good to see our friends. 
Kylie went back to school on Friday with a 2 hour delay.  Matthew and I went to school with her to help out her teacher.  Kylie is also having a sleep over with some friends at our house this evening.  Life is never boring, is it?