7 Days!

After my husband and I came back from our RunDisney vacation in January 2015, we started talking about what we wanted to do for our next vacation. We like to plan nice trips every year or so, and we usually start soon after the last one so that we know what we want to do and have plenty of time to save up for it.

In 2012 we went to Vegas

Caesar's

Caesar’s

 

New York New York

New York New York

 

Paris, of course ;)

Paris, of course 😉

 

At the Venetian

At the Venetian

 

And saw the Grand Canyon!

And saw the Grand Canyon!

In 2013 we Honeymooned on a 7 night cruise to the Bahamas in style!

champagne in our suite cabin

Champagne in our suite cabin

 

Chilling on our private balcony

Chilling on our private balcony

 

sipping drinks from a coconut pool-side

Sipping drinks from a coconut pool-side

 

swimming in the most amazing water ever

Swimming in the most amazing water ever

 

The Newlyweds getting Fancy at dinner

2014 We layed a little low, in preparation for our week long trip to Disney World. We did take a trip to the Poconos to celebrate our 1st wedding anniversary

 

Paddle boating in the lake at the Poconos

Paddle boating in the lake at the Poconos

 

Hiking

Hiking

 

playing lots of pool

Playing lots of pool

 

eating 1 year old wedding cake (YUM!)

Eating 1 year old wedding cake (YUM!)

 

and White Russians (of course!)

and White Russians (of course!)

January 2015 we went to Disney World!!!

Exploring Epcot

Exploring Epcot

 

Ready to run a 10K!

Ready to run a 10K!

 

mmm... avocado!

mmm… avocado!

 

Uncle Mike (aka Funny Mike) even borrowed Trenton's Mickey ears for a while :)

Uncle Mike (aka Funny Mike) even borrowed Trenton’s Mickey ears for a while 🙂

 

my spectator!

my spectator!

 

saying hi to Tony's camera

saying hi to the camera mid half marathon

 

Attack of the kids!

Attack of the niece and nephew!

 

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Dopey Complete! Showing off the hardware!

 

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Goofing off

 

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And then there’s this…

We didn’t do anything extravagant Since then. We’ve made trips to New York to visit Mike’s family/friends. We took a weekend trip to Virginia with my mom’s boyfriend’s family in Aug 2015. We visited my sister’s family last April to celebrate some birthdays. We even did a day trip to Hershey Park last month.

Boating in VA (with Zeus!)

Boating in VA (with Zeus!)

 

Happy 7 year old!

Happy 7 year old!

 

Happy 4 year old!

Happy 4 year old!

But in 7 days we depart for our biggest vacation ever! We will spend the next almost 3 weeks touring 7 cities of 4 countries in Europe! So excited!!!

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This is something we’ve been talking about for 2 years, been actively planning for 1 year, and anxiously waiting for since we made our deposit back in April. It’s taken some careful saving and lots of research, but we’re finally here.. paid in full… locked and loaded and ready to get this show on the road!

I took a trip to Europe with a student group in 2003, when I was 19. Back then there really were not camera phones, let alone smart phones, nor was there GPS or social media. Crazy to think about huh? I had a normal exposure camera and this was before you could even tell if you took a good picture or not! I took 11 rolls of film, 5 of them in Paris alone! I’m SO looking forward to going back and taking more photos.. unlimited photos.. that I’ll be able to share with family and friends in real time! (Or… near real time anyways.. as I probably won’t be posting much on the go.)

Mike has never been to Europe, and I’m very excited to go and experience these things with my best friend. While we don’t exactly share the same interest in being there (I’m ALL about the history and the art… and the art history LOL He’s all about meeting the people and seeing the culture) I’m just thrilled to share new experiences as we adventure around.

Our first stop will be in Dublin, Ireland. We will spend a few days there and make our way down, stopping for a few days in London, followed by Paris. From Paris, we get to take an overnight train to Florence, where we’ll also get to explore Pisa and the Cinque Terre. Then we will spend the last four days in Rome before we head home.

I think Italy is what Mike is looking forward to the most.. he is half Italian of course! He also is responsible for adding Ireland to our trip, as he has Irish on his mother’s side. While I’ve been to Paris, I have not been to any of the other cities we’re going to. Paris is my heart, but I’m also completely fascinated with the history of the English monarchy, particularly in the 14th-16th century range. I can’t wait to visit Westminster Abby, Hampton Court Palace, and the Tower of London. We’re going to see and do so much.. I can’t wait!

I’m most nervous about the language barrier. I speak a little French- not fluent, but enough to get around. I’ve been using Duolingo- an language teaching app, to try and learn a little Italian. I’m terrible at it. I have the hardest time with the pronunciation because I’m so used to the way the French say things. But I also have a phrase book and Google Translate.. and I think people know enough English to communicate. I just hate that Americans are so Monolingual.. and people here are so mean to others who don’t speak the native language, that I’m self conscious when it comes to visiting other countries with different languages. Ugh, C’est la vie.

I’d love to do a packing post… as I researched them heavily in preparation for this trip. I’m also probably going to do a post for each leg of the trip, but I may not get to them very fast. In the meantime, if anyone is curious, I’ll probably be posting pictures on Instagram if you want to follow along 🙂

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6 Months

I’m notorious for going for long stretches without posting anything. 6 months isn’t my longest break.. but it is pretty long. So I’m going to jump into my first post in 2016 (Yes I know it’s May) by doing a little recap of my life since November.

Zeus

My puppy (or not so puppy) turned 9 in February. He is officially an “old man” dog, but I’ll always call him my puppy. Unfortunately, he has developed a health issue which has been ongoing for more than a year really, but it’s starting to get worse a lot faster these days. Mike and I have self-diagnosed him as having DM (degenerative myelopathy.) It’s a degenerative spinal cord disease similar in that to ALS in humans. He hasn’t been to the vet for it, so the diagnosis is unofficial. DM is not a disease that can really be tested for, rather it’s diagnosed after other problems are ruled out. It’s also something that can’t be treated, and there is no cure. I really didn’t feel like spending hundreds (thousands?) of dollars at the vet trying to rule out anything else.. and plenty of online sources I’ve read show dogs- including pugs- with DM, and they all look the way Zeus does. He is still himself really… he is not in any pain, still wants to play, still follows us around and greets us eagerly when we come home… but his hind legs have really been hindered. He stumbles when he walks, falls down a lot, and drags his back feet. At least, he did when it started to become apparent he had a problem beyond what I thought was just arthritis and aging.

The fact is.. we have noticed that his degeneration is moving rather quickly, at least in his hind quarters. Around Christmas time, we started to notice him stumbling more, dragging his feet, and walking stiffly. After the New Year, he was falling a lot more and seemed to have a harder time walking out in the grass. Last month we noticed he would fall and get stuck, especially on the tile in our kitchen. He just couldn’t get his legs up under him to push himself up. He was also having a really hard time not falling on uneven and slippery surfaces, like the grass outside and the tile. We decided at this point to look into getting him a wheelchair.

I did some research and found a great cart for Zeus on HandicappedPets.com. They sell doggie wheelchairs that are fully adjustable and customizable- and while they still were a little expensive- it was less expensive than having someone make a custom chair. We settled on a used/refurbished model and saved about $100. It came within a week and was pretty easy to put together. The hardest part was making all the right adjustments to make sure Zeus fit properly and comfortably in the chair.

Once we got him in and outside.. it was amazing the difference! He moved so fast! He no longer stumbled, and what was taking 15+ minutes to walk to the corner and back now took about 7. At first he walked in spurts- it does take a dog a little while to get used to the cart- and his front legs needed to adjust/build strength enough to support the work of walking by themselves. But honestly, he took to it very well. The cart is very light weight, and manuvers very easy. After some practice, he’s walking pretty good in it and sometimes walks ahead of me a little.

I do have to say, he looks a little ridiculous in the cart. BUT, he gets so much attention when we’re out. A lot people feel sorry for him and ask if he’s ok or what happened to his legs. Other people laugh, because it is quite funny looking. Overall though, I know it’s improving his quality of life and letting him stay with us a little bit longer.

Helping Mike change his oil... this is how he sits now.

Helping Mike change his oil… this is how he sits now.

As for me, Zeus is my baby. Seeing him struggle to walk breaks my heart, but being able to give him the wheelchair makes me feel so much better, even as he continues to decline. As of now (actually, we’ve noticed even more degeneration even over the past two weeks) he struggles to walk on the carpet, cannot walk on the tile anymore at all, and gets stuck a lot. He falls flat on his bum with his legs sticking out from under him, and can’t get back up. I’ve been trying to get him in the chair more inside so he can be mobile, but he can’t rest (sit or lay) while in the chair. My strategy right now is to take him for walks in the cart and then let him be in it while we are fixing meals/eating- that way he can come over and walk about the kitchen as he usually does- and then take him out when he goes in his pen, or hangs out with us on the sofa. I know it’s only a matter of time before the disease spreads and starts to affect his front and other body functions, but my goal as his mommy is just to make him as comfortable as possible and let him have a good quality of life as long as he wants it… ok now I’m getting teary-eyed… *snif*

Zeus in his wheels

Zeus in his wheels

 

Still sooo snuggly!

Still sooo snuggly!

Fitness

I think in my last post I mentioned doing the Supreme 90 day workouts. Well, I would like to report that I completed 60 days of the program, but then got distracted. Mike and I planned to stay home in MD for Christmas this past December, but planned a trip to NY to visit with his family for New Years. I had pretty good success completing workouts in my father-in-law’s garage when we visited in October, and I wanted to do something similar in January. I did a little searching for programs and I really got pulled in by Beachbody’s Insanity Max 30 workout program. First- I loved the idea that the workouts were only 30 minutes long. Second- I loved that it was intense, which would make me feel like I got a great work out in the short amount of time. Third- I loved that the program involved no equipment. Which means I didn’t have to worry about bringing anything with me (other than my yoga mat… but even this wasn’t “needed”) when we traveled.

So I bought the program and did my workout s the whole week we were there. I continued the program when I got home and finished all 60 days. IM30 is really tough and at times made me feel like I’ve never worked out a day in my life. I ended up needing to modify a bunch of moves due to my bum knee, but the program had a modifier person in every workout, and I quickly learned which moves I needed to avoid/change to reduce my knee pain. All in all, I got through it pretty good and was proud of myself for seeing the program through.

That said, I did not have very good results from the program, at least from a body composition perspective. I don’t fault the program at all, as I did see a great improvement in my Max-out times and thus improvement in my fitness. I just have a hard time with my nutrition. I love to eat. I’m addicted to sugar… and my body does not do a very good job of metabolizing it. I’m convinced that my nutrition is the #1 thing holding me back from progress.

In an effort to help boost my metabolism, I wanted to incorporate more weight lifting. I backed off a bit after S90D in order to make sure focus on finishing IM30.I decided to go with another Beachbody product, Body Beast. It’s a 90 day gradual weight lifting program. It’s really marketed for men. but plenty of women have done it too. I’d managed to complete the first 3 weeks.. and then life got in the way. The plan at this point is to re-start.. so hoping I can keep up with it.

Weight Loss

Lately, I feel like I’ve lost my mojo and haven’t been going to the gym. I still get my morning workouts done, and have been eating 21DF style, most of the time.. but I’m getting minimal results. I know it’s totally on me and I need to suck it up and pull myself together- but it’s so easy to get into the mind set of “well it’s not going to work, so why try so hard.” Sigh.. I need to get over myself and just do what I need to do. I need to start doing my weight training again, consistently. I also need to be more careful with my nutrition. See, I know the answers… Ok.. whine over.

 

Mental Health

For just about a whole year I’ve been seeking treatment for generalized anxiety and panic disorders. I’d been having pretty bad anxiety attacks since 2012, some of which would last for hours. By the time it would finally fade (usually when I went to sleep and woke up the next morning) I would be so worried about having them again, it would trigger anxiety and the cycle would continue. I also had a lot on intrusive thoughts I could not control… usually involving my untimely death by one means or another. It was exhausting, uncomfortable, scary, and cyclic. Finally, Mike and my doctor got me to seek treatment. I started seeing a psychiatrist who prescribed me medication. It helped a great deal- I was no longer having the intrusive thoughts, and my panic attacks had stopped,  but I was still having breakthrough symptoms of random dizziness and shortness of breath, which didn’t alarm me so much, bu was really annoying to feel that way.

My job requires employees to participate in a special reliability program in order to work with some of the compounds we have. It’s a safety issue, but mostly a security issue- they need to make sure they have the most stable and trustworthy people working with some of their most secure and toxic compounds. As a participant in this program, we are required to self report medical records, changes in health or life status, prescription medications.. etc. I reported my anxiety issues and my medication and was required to seek a formal behavioral health evaluation. Long story short- it was recommended that I be suspended from the program- and thus working with certain classes of compounds- until I underwent 90 days of therapy treatment to address my symptoms. It was a little annoying to have to comply.. but I knew it would be good for me.

So I’ve been seeing a therapist and been working using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy techniques to de-sensitize myself from my anxiety triggers. The methods are quite simple actually, but do require a lot of practice. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve actually been able to taper off my medication and am ready to move onto the maintenance phase of CBT.. which will help keep my anxiety in check, as well as be able to bring it down if I do have a spike. I even have an appointment for a re-evaluation to be re-instated in the reliability program at work.. so happy about that.

Anyways, I wanted to share this because anxiety is a very common mental disorder. Sometimes your brain just gets stuck and chemical imbalances can occur to make you more susceptible to it. Medication really helps, but it’s a band-aid. Plus, a lot of people have a hard time going on or coming off the medications. (Coming off has been, and still slightly is a struggle for me.) But CBT has done wonders for me.. and I wanted to let anyone who is reading this and dealing with these issues know that it CAN be treated! I know how it feels to feel absolutely crippled from anxiety and it’s symptoms. People who have never experienced it do not (and really can not) know how it can affect you physically and emotionally. At my worst- I even felt a little detached and depressed- “why can everyone else live perfectly normal lives while I feel like I’m dying.” But there IS relief, you just have to know where to go. I would start with your general practitioner- see if they have a list of recommended counseling centers you can seek out. You want someone experienced in dealing with generalized anxiety disorders and can help you through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It may seem like new-age hooey when you first look into it (how can just breathing and imagery possible stop my very real and tangible physical symptoms!?!?)  but trust me.. you will start to feel normal again with enough practice! Feel free to message me if you have any questions.. I’ll be glad to help!

Vacations

In April my mom, her boyfriend, Mike and I went down to Orlando to visit my sister’s family. My niece’s birthday was on the 10th, my nephew’s the 18th, and my sister’s on the 20th. We rented a house nearby through AirBnB and it actually worked out really well for us. (Despite some drama in the beginning regarding the air conditioning, which was legit,  and my mom’s over-the-top expectations, which were completely unfounded.) The house had a pool, so the kids could come over and swim, and we enjoyed cooking out on the grill and taking advantage of the mild weather. Over the weekend, my sister held a combo birthday party for the kids at her community pool- which turned out great. Later that week Mike and I joined her, my brother-in-law, and a family friend for a wine tasting and tour at a local vineyard. Overall, it was a great relaxing and low key trip.. which is exactly what we wanted!

My sister's table of goodies.. she made everything..so talented

My sister’s table of goodies.. she made everything.. so talented

 

Happy 7 year old!

Happy 7 year old!

 

Happy 4 year old!

Happy 4 year old!

 

A couple weeks ago, Mike and I booked our fall trip to Europe! We finally pulled the trigger after talking about it for almost a year. It’s been on our “things we want to do before we have kids” list and I’m so excited to finally be able to go!

We designed our independent itinerary through Europeandestinations.com. I was a little nervous about using an online booking company like this, but so far everything seems to be going smoothly. We are able to pay in installments, the last being in August, so we’ll be all set for departure in late September. We are visiting 7 cities in 4 countries over the course of our 17 day trip. Italy was the country he really wanted to visit.. being that he’s half Italian.. and a Catholic.. so we will be visiting several cities there- including Rome and the Vatican, Florence, Pisa and the Cinque Terre. We’re also visiting Dublin to get a taste or Ireland (his other genetic heritage), London, and of course Paris. The booking company also lets us book activities and tours, so we are doing a select few tours through them, and the rest will be done/seen via our city passes ( Dublin, London and Paris.)

This will be my second time abroad, my first being when I was 19 with a group of students from my former high school. On that trip, we toured Paris, Provence, the French riviera, and Venice. For this trip, Paris will be the only city I’ve been to (Paris is my most favorite city ever!) and I’m so excited to explore and share the experience with my husband! I’ve already made a list of things we may need for the trip, watched tons of travel videos on YouTube, and even bought our city passes and guidebooks. Can’t wait!

Behold, the countdown!

Behold, the countdown!

Whew.. that covers a lot… I hope I can blog a little more here and there and not wait another 6 months to update. Anywho.. keep on keeping on people!

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother's day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic ;)

Oh yeah.. my birthday was on Mother’s day.. we had Mexican.. the margaritas were fantastic 😉

Happy Almost Thanksgiving!

Meet Doug the Pug.. from the Doug the Pug Facebook page. How cute!

Meet Doug the Pug.. from DougthePug.com How cute!

It’s Wednesday and hope everyone is gearing up for a super great Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow! I finally solidified my plans for dinner, and will be going over my Aunt’s to have dinner with her family and my dad.. and of course my husband is coming too!

Pre-dinner activities will include a Turkey Trot 5K with my husband and my friends, followed by a breakfast over at my mom’s afterwards. I’m glad I get to spend a little bit of time with everyone… but I’ll definitely be eating more than my fair share. Meh… that’s kind of the point with this holiday though, so not going to beat myself up over it. It’s one day.

I have been keeping that in the back of my mind however, and have planned this week accordingly. First lets take it back a bit.

A couple weeks ago, Mike and I drove up to his hometown of Farmingdale NY to visit with friends and family. We stayed Wednesday (Veterans day) to the following Monday. We hadn’t been up there since last Christmas, save a quick weekend trip to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 60th birthday. Plus, we were planning on spending this Christmas at home in MD, since we’ve never done that in the 7 years we’ve been together.  It was a great little vacation, filled with some relaxation, and a little rushing around to see everyone. But it was also filled with food, and while I tried to prepare myself as much as I could (brought hard boiled eggs, salad fixings, greek yogurt, Kashi, some fruit and healthy snacks) I still couldn’t avoid the bad stuff the whole time. Most of the time the food was healthy, but I way overate my portions and couldn’t always follow the 21DF plan. I DID work out just about every day I was there, doing some pretty killer bodyweight HIIT workouts involving lots of plyo. But exercise can only take you so far when you’re not eating your best.

Anyways.. I decided that instead of replacing the S90D workouts I would have done, that I would just “re-do” that whole week when I got home. So I did. As of yesterday, I finished day 30 of the program. Quite happy to officially be 1/3 in! I haven’t measured any progress yet, because for the past 3 days, in anticipation of Thanksgiving and all the eating that goes with it… I’ve been following the 3 Day quick fix part of the 21DF plan.

So what is the 3 day quick fix? Basically, it’s a 3 day meal plan designed to be done at the end of a round of the 21DF to give you a little extra boost in your efforts, and help break through some plateaus. I’m doing it in preparation for Thanksgiving, but it can be done whenever you want a little edge up. The plan is pretty easy and tells you exactly what to eat- 6 small meals over the course of the day.

Breakfast is egg whites, coconut oil, and oatmeal. I cooked 4 egg whites in the coconut oil, and then made some plain oatmeal, adding a little Truvia and cinnamon. I do have to admit, I had my cup of coffee w/ fat free half and half.. not giving up the coffee. Sorry.

21DF 3 day Quick Fix breakfast

21DF 3 day Quick Fix breakfast

The next four meals rotate between chicken and fish with steamed vegetables. Some of which have coconut oil. The way I did it was I got some Perfect Portions chicken breasts and some individually portioned fish fillets (salmon and tilapia) and cooked a bunch of it to put in lunches. The chicken I cooked in the coconut oil, but the fish, I did not. One chicken meal was to be accompanied by yams, so I cut up and steamed some sweet potatoes. I also got some steamed broccoli to eat with the other chicken dish, and some Green Giant frozen vegetable mix to eat with the fish meals. The sixth meal was ground turkey, coconut oil, and steamed vegetables. I simply cooked the ground turkey in the coconut oil, then used the same pan to saute some spinach and tomatoes. This meal I ate after my workouts.

Four out of 5 of my remaining meals

Four out of 5 of my remaining meals

I’ve been pretty good sticking to this 3 day plan… my mantra has been..”It’s only 3 days… It’s only 3 days.” I miss yogurt and avocado and fruit and grains, and the occasional sugar. This plan is not sustainable for me beyond the near term.. thus.. only three days.

I do feel that I’m less bloated (not that I was a ton bloated to begin with) so I guess that’s a positive.. but I don’t like eating this often.. it feels strange to me to eat a regular meal every 2-3 hours.. especially when I come home from the gym. I’m usually craving something sweet and eat my Quest bar.. not ground turkey. I will say that although I’ve been kind of dreading my meals.. they’ve also been pretty good, so I don’t feel unsatisfied at the end… just.. doesn’t fit my cravings in the beginning. Guess that’s not a bad thing… but just kind of boring.

Anyways, today is my last day doing this.. so tomorrow I’ll take some measurements and see how I’ve done for this month. Looking forward to getting the next month going!

 

2015 Disney Marathon Weekend! Part 6- Last Day and Departure

If you’re just joining in my 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend series… check out my other posts on our arrival in Disney, and my 5K, 10K, half and full marathon experiences.

The day after the marathon, I was still hurting, but I definitely felt much better than the previous day. With 12+ hours of sleep under our belts, we got up and had a nice leisurely breakfast. It was nice out- not too cool, not too warm, and a little sunny. I had a few things I wanted to do on this Monday, but I wasn’t in any hurry. I really couldn’t be anyways.. as I was still walking pretty slow due to my knee.

The first thing we did was wander around our resort. There are lots of cool sculptures around and we wanted to get pictures with some.

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Ariel is my favorite

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Joining the party

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Posing with King Triton

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Mike is digging Sebastian

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Scariest Disney villain of all time

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Isn’t he handsome!?

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I think he likes this collection piece

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Treasure!

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Mike and the Snarfblack

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I found a Dinglehopper.

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Plotting with Scar

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I feel like I’m being followed…

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Hakuna Matata!

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Mufasa!

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Chillin’ with Rafiki

After we were finished our shenanagans, we headed out to Animal Kingdom. I was able to get fast passes for the Safari ride and “Its Tough To be a Bug.”

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“Dramatic” picture in AK.

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Tree of Life

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“Dramatic” picture of Everest

We had to wait a little while for our turn to ride the safari, so we wandered around a gift shop a while.

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Hanging around Africa

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Panama Jack

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I think this Safari hat suits me

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It’s a Pumba pilllow!

Finally it was time to get on the Safari. Always a good time.

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After the safari, we had some time to kill before seeing the bugs, so we popped over to Rafiki’s Planet Watch.

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On the train to Rafiki’s Planet Watch

 

When we got over there, we saw that Chip and Dale were out with a very short line. I got in line, but they left for a break when I was the second person in line. We wandered in to the main building and saw that Rafiki was coming out.. since there were only 3 people there, I got in line and got to meet Rafiki! He was very excited about my Dopey medal, clapped and gave me a big hug!

 

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Hanging out with my pal Rafiki

We headed back and made it to see “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” We really didn’t need our fast passes, but they’re cool to have anyways. When we got out of the show, it had started to drizzle a bit. I decided to buy a poncho in the event that it started raining harder. I really didn’t need to see anything else in Animal Kingdom, so we got on a bus and headed over to Downtown Disney.

The ONE thing I wanted after the marathon, was Ghirardelli ice cream. It is the best treat at Disney World ever! I had wanted to get one at the cool down party on Sunday evening, but I ended up passing out dead asleep, and even if I hadn’t I don’t think I could have walked fer enough to get there. So, my plan was to get one for “lunch” and then spend the evening over at Hollywood Studios, the one park we hadn’t been to yet.

We made it to Downtown Disney fine and found it wasn’t too crowded in the shop. There was barely any tables open though, but magically I spotted some people leaving and I scooped one up. It had started to rain pretty good while we were in there, and not a lot of people could sit out on the terrace.. so we were pretty lucky as more people were ducking into the shop to escape the rain.

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SO worth a marathon to eat one of these!

We sat a while and ate our ice cream. Mike was a little worried about the rain, but I still wanted to go to the other park. I figured we could wait out the majority of the rain and then head over. We finished our ice creams and decided to move to make room for other customers looking for a seat. We walked outside as the rain picked up again. We found a seat close to the building under the terrace and put our feet up to avoid the flood. Then the skies OPENED.

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Watching the monsoon!

We sat there for more than an hour watching the driving rain, and wathing people rushing to shelter. I didn’t mind waiting and it was kind of relaxing to watch the rain. It had cooled off a lot, but I was comfortable in my sweatshirt and poncho. At one point it had let up a lot, so we decided to make our break for it (mind you, I still couldn’t go very fast due to my knee.) The wind had picked up pretty good, and it was a cold rain. By the time we got on a bus, we were both soaked (and I was shivering!) My knee had been aching.. not enough to deter me from wandering around slowly, but I just couldn’t picture myself walking all the way back to our room to change, then all the way back to the buses to go to the park. I conceded defeat and decided just to go back and stay in for the evening.

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Drenched and on the bus.

We took our time and packed up for our departure the next day. I felt bad that we should have spent more time at the parks (tickets are expensive!) but you just can’t battle the weather.

The next morning we had a fantastic breakfast then caught the Magical Express back to the airport. Always sad to go home, but I was ready to get life back to normal. Since I didn’t get a chance to take a picture at a park with all my medals, we took some pictures in front of the Disney store in the Airport.

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Proud Dopey finisher!

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Even got some of Mike in his 10K medal

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High five Mickey.. high five!

And thus ends my 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend saga. If you stuck with me through the whole thing.. thanks for reading! I hope my experiences gave good insight to the runDisney races and helped paint the picture of what it’s like to run at the “Happiest Place on Earth!”  Will I do the Dopey again.. NOPE- one and done. It’s just too expensive and too hard on my body physically. Will I do the Goofy Challenge.. I can’t say never, but it’s not on my radar anytime soon. Will I ever run another runDisney race.. I hope so! In my eyes, they still are the best races I’ve ever run. I hope to be able to experience other race weekends like Princess or the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. But for now, I’m taking a runDisney break. The takeaway- yes, it’s expensive. Yes, the challenges are strenuous both mentally and physically. But never put limits on yourself, whether it’s a 5K or an ultra marathon.. if you want it, take it! As Walt Disney once said….

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2015 Disney Marathon Weekend! Part 2- 5k!

Continuing on my 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend saga, I give you Part 2- 5K! (If you missed Part 1 click HERE)

Thursday morning I was up at 3 am. The 5K started an hour later than all the other races, but still, 3 am sucks. What made it easy though, was that I set all of my race things out ahead of time, so I didn’t need to go digging through my suitcase to find stuff.

There had been warnings out all over Facebook regarding the wind chill advisory for Thursday morning. I knew the temperatures were supposed to drop, but I figured.. “eh, how bad could it be?”

Bad. It was bad. When I woke up I felt a little chilled, and I noted that the temperatures were reading in the high 30’s, so I decided to do the smart thing and wear a jacket under my tank top. My outfit for the 5k was supposed to be a purple tank top I made that said “legs are required for racing” and my green tutu I wore for the Shamrock 5K last march. I accessorized with a pink sports bra and pink sparkle head band. Obviously, I was going for my favorite Disney princess, Ariel. In anticipation of the cooler weather forecast, I purchased a bunch of arm warmers in various colors (green for Ariel!) I could sport in case of an emergency. It was clear that that alone wouldn’t be enough. So, I threw on my thin Under Armour premium from the Sole of the City 10K that I decided to bring last minute. (SO glad I did that!).

After a quick breakfast of a bagel, I grabbed a heat sheet to wrap around me, snapped on my race bib, snatched up my small hand held water bottle, my phone and some hand warmers, and headed out to catch a bus to the start. As soon as I left the hotel room.. I realized I had not only made a smart decision to wear the jacket… I had made a necessary decision. It was cold. SO much colder than upper 30’s should have felt. The wind was raw and very gusty. I walked quickly to the main building and stood inside the doorway to wait for Dawn. When she showed up, she was also wrapped nice and tightly in a heat sheet. I started to complain about the cold when she informed me she was wearing a tank top. (YES… she wore a tank top and no other layer in upper 30’s, feels-like-upper-20’s, windy weather.) She was dressed up as Tinker Bell, complete with wings. The wings also prevented her from being able to pull the heat sheet over her head to try and get a bit warmer. Her costume looked great though.. too bad Florida decided to become Maryland for a day. (Don’t get me wrong… it was in the single digits at home! But this was pretty darn cold for central FL.)

We got right on a bus and were temporarily relieved of the bitterness. But, the reprieve went too soon, as it was not long before we had arrived at the Epcot bus drop off and herded to the start. Disney races are fun like that.. get up super early, catch a bus, stand in a staging area for 1-2 hours, walk (sometimes far!) to the start corrals, wait another 30- 60 minutes, walk to the start line, wait another 5 minutes.. add the bitter cold and yeah, not fun.

As we made our way to the staging area, we noticed some runners huddled inside an empty “Information” tent. We weren’t sure what they were congregating for until we rounded the corner and found an occupied “Information tent.” This tent was perpendicular to a chain link fence covered with some kind of construction wrap. A ton of runners were huddled here, so we made our way to the fence where we might be shielded by the wind a little. We could feel there was a slight heated breeze coming from the Information tent and realized they must have heaters. It was by no means warm, but it did block some of the negative effects of the wind. We huddled there a while until we were chased out by staff. After that, we joined the pack of runners a little further out in the corner, all standing close to one another trying to block the wind and cold. There was a variety of people.. some with skimpy costumes, some with warm coats; There WERE a few like Dawn, with exposed skin, but not many. I had elected (like a fool) to wear capri leggins and not my fleece insulated tights (stupid! stupid!).. and the lower part of my legs down through my feet stung so bad in the cold.

Tinker Dawn

Tinker Dawn

But I thought I WAS smiling!

But I thought I WAS smiling!

Finally, like the runner version of the March of the Penguins, we were herded to the start corrals. Dawn and I were both assigned to corral B, which was just fine for us, because it meant we could start all the sooner and be done with this nonsense. After about another 30 minute wait, we finally were herded to the start. As we were standing around at the start line, listening to the announcer try and psych us up for the race, one guy started singing “Let us goooo! Let us GOOOO!” Best Let It Go rendition EVER.

Waiting for the GO!

Waiting for the GO!

When we were finally off, neither one of us wanted to toss our heat sheets. So, for the very first time in my 4 years of running, I ran with my heat sheet. The first couple intervals took us around the Epcot parking lot and back in through the backside of Epcot’s World Showcase. Only, we were so cold, that I think we ran pretty much the first mile before actually doing intervals.

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2014 map, but essentially the same course

I had warmed up enough to toss my heat sheet right before we entered the World Showcase. Dawn ran with hers the whole time. We didn’t stop for characters 1- because it was too cold, and 2- because of the long lines. We kept telling ourselves that it was just a 5k.. and that it would be over soon and we could go back to our warm hotel rooms. In Epcot, there was music playing as we ran. We sang to some of the songs to keep our spirits up. Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah came on.. and I hadn’t heard that song in ages! In fact, I don’t know if any kids now days would know it at all. I started singing “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah , Zip-A-Dee-Ay… My oh my what a wonderful day!” Dawn joined in with “plenty of sunshine headin’ my way!”… then everyone around us joined in to finish out the chorus; “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Zip-A-Dee-Ay!” It was a great moment! (And now I have it stuck in all your heads too! :-p)

Running into Epcot's World Showcase

Running into Epcot’s World Showcase

running in Epcot

sun is starting to come up

sun is starting to come up

looking back towards France

mile 2!

pretty sunrise

pretty sunrise

There's the ball!

There’s the ball!

Almost done!

Almost done!

mine... mine...

mine… mine…

Finish line!

Finish line!

crossing the finish line

crossing the finish line

We finished in 37:38 (chip time) and made our way through the finishers chute. We got our medallions and finisher’s photos. RunDisney provided us water and power aide bottles, bananas and a box of snacks. You wouldn’t think we’d necessarily need snacks after only a 5K.. but I had my bagel breakfast at about 3:30 am, and it was now about 7 am, so I was pretty hungry. The snack boxes were great… much better than ones they have given out in the past. (NO shrink wrapped stale processed bagel!) One thing I was VERY disappointed with was that runDisney was not handing out heat sheets at the end of the race. It was bitter cold out, and now I was wet from sweating. It was miserable. I chalked it up to maybe runDisney didn’t give them out for the 5k.. being that this was my first time doing this particular race, I was disappointed, but accepted it.

5k DONE!

5k DONE!

5K

My Garmin stats

We wasted no time and made for the lines for the buses. We discovered our bus was (of course) the one with the longest line. And it was long. RunDisney was loading buses up two at a time, but we still had to wait for 4 buses before we finally got one. When I got back to the hotel, I still had a long walk back to the room.. and this time I had no heat sheet and was slightly damp. I also had tossed my hand warmers during the race, and for whatever insane reason (probably the same insane reason I was not wearing full pants) I didn’t bring my gloves. As I was walking into the wind, I was absolutely frozen. My hands hurt from being so cold and I noticed that they had started to turn purple. Not good. When I got in the room, I had Mike take a quick picture of me with my medal in my costume, and I jumped right in a hot shower to warm up.

3.1 down, 45.5 to go!

3.1 down, 45.5 to go!

Good old Pluto!

Good old Pluto!

Once I was warm and clean, I lounged around a bit telling Mike about the race. (There’s not much spectator action for the 5K, so he stayed in the room and slept in.) Around 9:30 we headed out to Epcot to meet my sister again. Trenton had school during the day, so it was just Diane, AJ, and Gemma hanging out for a bit. We had some pastries and coffee in Les Halles Boulangerie & Pâtisserie in the French pavilion, saw Figment at Journey Into Imagination, and rode Living with the Land and Spaceship Earth again. We also sampled soda at Coca Cola’s Club Cool and was pleasantly surprised that they had some new choices to sample.

Yup, still cold!

Yup, still cold!

Gemma, Daddy, and Uncle Mike on Living With The Land

Gemma, Daddy, and Uncle Mike on Living With The Land

Gemma was excited for Figment!

Gemma was excited for Figment!

Checking out the Coca-Cola merchandise

Checking out the Coca-Cola merchandise at Club Cool

Around 2, my sister and gang had to leave to get Trenton from school, so Mike and I decided to go back to the hotel and relax the rest of the day. I really felt like we should be going to another park because it was still early, but I knew we were making the right decision to go back and rest, as my legs and feet were pretty tired, and I was only 3.1 miles into my 48.6 mile challenge!

Waiting for the bus!

Waiting for the bus!

We ended the day with dinner at the hotel and Epsom salt baths for both of us. It is amazing how much you walk around when out and about, and how big a toll that puts on the body. My Fitbit had registered 26,076 steps for Thursday alone- which translates roughly to 11.77 miles. That included a 5K, but all that extra walking adds up! No wonder my feet were killing me and my legs were tired. I had also logged 24,259 steps (10.11 miles) on Tuesday, and 22,808 steps (9.54 miles) on Wednesday. This 10+ mile/day thing was hitting me pretty hard mentally, and I still had so much further to go in the challenge. Something to think about if you are reading this in anticipation of doing a future Dopey challenge.

We turned in early, around 8:30 because we were set to wake up at 2:30 on Friday to get ready for the 10K!

Check back to continue on to Part 3- 10K!

2015 Disney Marathon Weekend! Part 1- Arrival and Expo!

I’m so excited to finally write these posts! It’s taken me a while because I returned to work right after we got back from vacation, and I’ve had a lot of things going on with the start of the new year. This will be a 6-part series of posts- this one being the beginning of our vacation and trip to the expo,  4 will be devoted to each individual race day, and one last post to wrap up vacation and our trip back home.

We left for Florida on Tuesday Jan 6. It was cold, with a snow system due to move into our area early in the morning. Fortunately for us- we had to be at the airport EARLIER than early in the morning. Our flight was due out at 6:15 am, which means we were on the road to the airport around 3 am! Once we got parked and dropped off at the airline’s check in counter, we realized that the counter didn’t even open until 4:30 am. So, we joined the line and waited. We chatted with a lady behind us, who was also going to Disney Marathon weekend so her daughter could run the marathon. We felt right at home telling running stories.

Finally we were able to check in our bags and headed over to security. My bag was pretty heavy, and my husband offered to put some of my stuff in his bag to re-distribute some of the weight so we wouldn’t have to pay over-weight fees. Both bags came in under 50 lbs, and we moved on our way. BUT my husband’s carry on bag was pulled while going through the security line. Apparently, at the last minute he decided to take my 3 bottles of G2 Gatorade out of his checked bag and put it in his carry on to save some weight. Security told him he wasn’t allowed through (as I knew!) and he would have to lose the bottles. WELL, I was not having it! Anyone who runs knows how important specific food/fuel and drinks are for a race (or four).. and who knows if I would be able to get my hands on some more at Disney!? (Disney carried Power-aid, which I do not use, and I only drink the low-sugar version of Gatorade) So, he begrudgingly checked his bag.. thinking all the while I was nuts. (Which I may be… but it was his fault for taking out of his checked bag to begin with!)

ANYWAY.. we chatted with Dawn and Tony at the gate (we had the same flight out) before boarding the plane. Take off was a little nerve-wracking for me. While we were in the airport, it had begun snowing outside. It was coming down pretty good and the runways were covered already. Our flight was “on time” but we did sit on the tarmac a good 30 minutes while we were waiting for and being de-iced. When we were finally cleared for take-off, I saw the runways were still snow covered. It made me a little nervous that we would be driving at 500 mph for take-off on a snow covered runway. (Plus it doesn’t help that we had recently seen the show “Why Planes Crash” either!) But, we took off fine, and the rest of the flight was smooth sailing.

Sunrise from the plane

Sunrise from the plane

Hello Orlando!

Hello Orlando!

Once in good old MCO, we picked up Mike’s bag (The others had Magical Express tags and would be delivered right to our room… LOVE Disney) and hopped on the Magical Express bus to our resort, Art of Animation.

AoA main lobby/check in

AoA main lobby/check in

Christmas tree still up!

Christmas tree still up!

We were able to check in and were directed to our room. There are 5 sections of rooms in the AoA resort. Finding Nemo is the section immediately when you walk out of the main building. That, along with the Cars and Lion King sections are all family suites. We had booked a standard room, which was located in the Little Mermaid section- all the way in the back of the resort. Not only was it a 10 minute walk to the section itself, we were the last building all the way in the back.. on the fourth (top) floor… all the way at the end of the hall. Yup.

Entrance to the Cars section

Entrance to the Cars section (with a Nemo Building in the background)

Big Blue Pool, main pool in front of Finding Nemo

Big Blue Pool, main pool in front of Finding Nemo

Lion King section

Lion King section

Start of the Little Mermaid section.. see the bldg in the back? No? Well, it's there, and it was ours.

Start of the Little Mermaid section.. see the building in the back? No? Well, it’s there, and it was ours.

View from the 4th floor of our building, overlooking the Little Mermaid Pool

View from the 4th floor of our building, overlooking the Little Mermaid Pool

In our room, we had double beds. When I booked, I was kinda mad at myself for not thinking to request a single king bed, but after I thought about it, the double bed thing was good, because now we had a place to put all the running stuff! Otherwise, there really wasn’t a lot of space to put stuff. There was only one nightstand between the beds, so I took one of the chairs from the table and made it into a makeshift nightstand. The room was good for 2 people, but not much more than that.

TV and small table

TV and small table… even the mirror was small.

double beds

double beds

The rest of our luggage had not arrived yet, so we decided to get some lunch and set out to the parks. One thing I can say, was that the resort restaurant, Landscape of Flavors was great! Lots of food choices from burgers to make-your-own-pasta. My favorite was the make -your-own omelets at breakfast and the chicken burger. You could even choose a side of fries or a side of cole-slaw, letting you decide how healthy or unhealthy you wanted to be.  One new thing I noticed since the last time I was at Disney, was the programming of the beverage cups. I had saved my morning cup and tried to put soda in it later, only to be rejected from the soda machine. I have since looked into it a little bit and read that the cups have RFID chips built into them. For the souvenir type- you pay for the amount of days you wish to refill the cup. For the disposable paper kind, the RFID expires after an hour, or a maximum of 3 refills, whichever comes first. The soda machines will only dispense beverages if it senses the RFID. Sneaky sneaky Disney! BUT, I was able to refill my cup with coffee or hot chocolate.. both of which have the traditional pull-down levers. It was also fun to watch other unsuspecting guests try and figure out how the machines worked :-p The one complaint I had regarding this quick service restaurant was the prices. Not so much for an entree, which while expensive, was very generous in portion and good quality. But for the other, every day things like pieces of fruit and bottles of juice/water etc. the prices were a rip off. They didn’t even include the milk when you got a bowl of cereal, you had to buy that separate. (And REALLY Disney… 1.75 for ONE banana!?!?! We can get a whole bunch for that price at Wegman’s!)

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Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation

Continuing on, the first thing we wanted to do after lunch was to have avocado margaritas at La Cava Del Tequila. It’s a little hole in the wall (most people don’t even know it’s there!) tequila bar inside the Mexican pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase. They serve all kinds of authentic Mexican tequila there and many different types of margaritas. I had a hibiscus one once.. but our favorite is avocado! (Tastes so much better than it sounds!) They are a bit pricy at 14.99 for 1, but they are our must-do splurge every time we make a trip!

mmm... avocado!

mmm… avocado!

From there, we meandered around the world showcase.. not looking to do anything in particular, but just enjoying being at Disney. We saw a lumberjack show in Canada, checked out the Christmas decorations in France, and even shared some caramels in Germany.

Bonjour

Bonjour

mmm...candy!

mmm…candy!

Spaceship Earth

Spaceship Earth

Christmas Stitch!

Christmas Stitch!

We left Epcot and headed over to Magic Kingdom. My uncles who moved to FL last year were going to meet up with us there. By the time we caught up with them though, they were in line for Seven Dwarfs’ Mine Train, and the wait was over 70 minutes long! So we let them stand in line and we hit up some other things nearby.

Magic Kingdom!

Magic Kingdom!

Castle from Main Street

Cinderella’s Castle

By the time we finally DID meet up with my uncles, it was late and the castle was all lit up. We sat and enjoyed coffees and ice cream, then we watched the fire works from behind the castle.. kind of a neat view point for those who have been-there-seen-that several times.

so pretty!

so pretty!

We started off Wednesday with a nice carb-load breakfast (character waffles!) and set out for the heath and fitness expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. All Dopeys had to pick up their race packets on Wednesday because the 5k was on Thursday. We tried to meet up with Dawn and Tony, but we had to wait 20 minutes for a bus. Then we had a long walk from where the bus dropped us off to where we had to go for our stuff. By the time we got there, it was getting pretty crowded. I picked up my packet and waited for Mike to pick up his for the 10K. Then I got in line for my shirts. My 5K shirt ended up being too small, so I got in another long line to exchange it, only to find out that the line was only for the challenge shirt exchange. Sigh. I followed another runner looking to do the same thing back to the original shirt pick-up line. Luckily, we just asked someone off to the side if we could exchange the shirts, and it was pretty quick. Side note- the race shirts were really nice. In 2012 and 2013 I got unisex shirts that were too big because they were unisex, and the material was a dry, waffle-like weave. THIS year (and I think last year) they offered woman’s cut shirts and the material was a nice smooth material. A+ runDisney!

cute AND tasty!

cute AND tasty!

Walking to ESPN Wide World of Sports complex

Walking to ESPN Wide World of Sports complex

Dopey!

Dopey!

Proud 10K participant!

Proud 10K participant!

We left packet pick up and met Dawn and Tony briefly before heading into the expo. I had a few things on my list to get and the expo was the place to be. First, we picked up Mike’s 10K shirt (Goofys and Dopeys picked up their stuff in the same building as packet pick up, everyone else had to go into the Josten’s Center where the expo was) and then I headed to the Raw threads booth. The shirt I had bought for the marathon was too big and I read they would do expo returns, and I wanted to return it. Unfortunately, I read it wrong and was told I was not going to be able to do the return. But then I was directed to the owner of the shop and she graciously let me exchange it for something else of the same value. Because the shirt was cheaper than their usual prices, all I ended up being able to get was a headband.. but I was really happy she was letting me do it, so, I got a cool headband :-p Other items I was able to procure included KT tape, a race belt to hold bibs, a yellow Sparkle Athletic skirt for my 10K costume, a 48.6 magnet for my car, and a 10K magnet for Mike’s car. Once we were done we realized it was lunchtime. so we headed back to the room to unload our stuff and have lunch before venturing out to the park.

Race swag!

Race swag!

After lunch we headed back to Magic Kingdom. My sister, brother-in-law, AJ, nephew, Trenton, and niece, Gemma, were meeting up with us that afternoon. (They live in Orlando.) I hadn’t seen the kids since our wedding in October 2013, so I was so excited to spend some time with them! We roamed around, did some rides, and a good time was had by all!

Trenton

Trenton waiting for the Little Mermaid ride

Gemma just LOVES her Aunt Stephanie!

Gemma just LOVES her Aunt Stephanie! And It’s A Small World.

Uncle Mike (aka Funny Mike) even borrowed Trenton's Mickey ears for a while :)

Uncle Mike (aka Funny Mike) even borrowed Trenton’s Mickey ears for a while 🙂

We got back to the room a little later than I wanted, after all, I needed to be up super early for the 5K Thursday morning. I also didn’t anticipate how much all the walking around the parks would take a toll on my legs and feet. I was worn out and I hadn’t even run a race yet. Needless to say, I was a little worried. I took an Epsom salt bath and wore my Tommie Copper recovery tights to bed, just to be safe.

THIS stuff was amazing

THIS stuff was amazing

Stay tuned for my next chapter- 2015 Disney Marathon Weekend: Part 2- 5K!

 

 

Happy Anniversary!

Oct 5, 2013

Oct 5, 2013

Two weekends ago (well extended weekend really) My husband and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary by taking a trip to the Poconos.

We were SO excited to take this trip, one reason being that we didn’t take a vacation this year. Disney is going to eat some vacation time and take a big chunk out of our vacation fund. But we did want to do a little getaway for our anniversary.. a second Honeymoon, if you will. Our last big vacation WAS the honeymoon- a 7 day cruise to the Bahamas.. and man was THAT an awesome vacation!

drinks from a coconut

drinks from a coconut

1st port of call

1st port of call

Power snorkeling in Grand Turk

Power snorkeling in Grand Turk

kayaking in Half Moon Cay

kayaking in Half Moon Cay

swimming at Half Moon Cay

swimming at Half Moon Cay

goofing off at Half Moon Cay

goofing off at Half Moon Cay

Freeport, 3rd port of call

Freeport, 3rd port of call

on the ship

on the ship

amazing sunrise

amazing sunrises

While we could not afford the time or money for another cruise.. we found a little resort in the Poconos called Cove Haven. It’s about a 4 hour drive from us.. perfect for a little road trip without being too far.. and the drive was even better considering it’s October, and the leave changes are in full force in the mountains!

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Cove Haven is an “All Inclusive” resort (quotes there because there are some things you have to pay for) for couples. The resort is known for their famous heart shaped whirlpool tubs for two. Supposedly, this place is where the heart-shape tubs originated.. but take that as you may. The resort actually has a number of different room styles to choose from. Simple “Harbor Tower” rooms with the heart shaped tub and a glass enclosed shower for two, to extravagant “Champagne Tower Suites” with 7 foot tall champagne glass jacuzzi tub, glass enclosed heart-shaped pool (YES.. a pool in your room!), sauna, massage table, fire place, and shower for two. All rooms include mini refrigerators and round king sized beds.

Our room was the mid-grade “Cove Fantasy” Suite. It included the a sunken bedroom area with a round king bed and celestial ceiling (the ceiling over the bed had twinkling LED stars!), fireplace in a separate seating area, the heart shaped whirlpool tub, an indoor pool, and sauna.

we've arrived!

we’ve arrived!

entry level sitting room

entry level sitting room

sunken bedroom

sunken bedroom

heart-shaped Jacuzzi tub

heart-shaped Jacuzzi tub

private indoor pool

private indoor pool

Did we ever leave the room!?!? Yeah, we did. The resort had a ton of things to do. They even hand out a little activity schedule like they do on the cruise ships. There was dirty Bingo (which we never got around to attending), different types of Trivia (we played “Sex Trivia”… was a riot!) they had a Newlywed game (we did not attend because.. well.. we’re Newlyweds.. and we don’t want that kind of attention lol.) They had daily deer feeding where the guy would call the deer in the woods (no joke.. he literally yelled “Dinner!” into the woods) and the deer would flock to the food.We were maybe 20 feet away from them as they ate, right out in the open. He even had a volunteer hand feed one of them.. it was pretty cool!

deer feeding

deer feeding

deer feeding

deer feeding

We did paddle boating on the lake

lake

lake

paddle boating

paddle boating

Played lots of pool

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Did a round of indoor mini golf

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couldn’t help myself

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Hung out with these guys

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Hiked a nature trail

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We also played the trivia, played indoor archery, tennis in the indoor tennis court, played table tennis, did a late night hay ride, and killed some time with some arcade games. Don’t have pictures of those.. but THIS did happen

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We even watched a cooking class with a chef named Fed. (Chef Fed came back later that evening to do a dessert presentation in the nightclub. We watched a band, had a drink and enjoyed some dessert.

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cooking with Chef Fed

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my attempt at plating the food

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Chef Fed’s dessert presentation in the nightclub

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white Russian

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dessert!

Speaking of dessert- we had a lot of it. When we booked our room, we bought a an add on package which included chocolate covered strawberries with whipped cream, and chocolate truffles. We also got a box of complimentary chocolates because we were not yet married a year when we checked in. Of course, being our 1st anniversary, we brought our top tier from our wedding cake last year. And dinner always included a wonderful array of desserts to try.

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chocolate covered strawberries

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chocolates and truffles

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CAKE!

Breakfasts and dinners were included. The breakfast buffet didn’t change much day-to-day, but the dinner did. One night was a buffet, another night was menu style, and the last night was another buffet, with different offerings. Breakfast started a little late at 8:30 am, but they offered free coffee in the lounge for early birds like us.

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pre-breakfast coffee.. they gave me a rose!

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giant champagne glass in the dining room

 The staff was great, the food was good, the entertainment was entertaining lol. We really enjoyed our stay and will most likely return for future trips! Definitely recommend this place for anyone looking for a romantic weekend getaway!