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16 Mar 2015

Soulmate Sisters

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I have been hotel hopping since I was about 8 years old. When I was young, we visited a number of pretty snazzy hotels and resorts all over the Milwaukee and lower Wisconsin area. Mostly with my Papi while he worked. My sister and I would play in the pools, meet other kids on vacation, marvel at the opulence that was in every corner and on every wall of the hotel. We became professional hotel explorers.

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It was fun to be rich, even if just for the weekend.

I had a déjà vu moment this past weekend as oldest girls, about the same age apart as my sister and I, frolicked during a night swim on my last vacation. It brought me back to swimming at the pools of my youth when my Papi would bring us, while he worked, to hotels for the weekend. I hadn’t remembered the similarities until just that moment.

My infatuation with hotels and weekend getaways was finally making sense. What if this was a way my father was telling to remember the best times of my childhood? Could it be he’s sending me a message? I fully believe in signs and have always believed in the way that things do happen for a reason.

Ten years ago, my Papi left two little girls on this Earth. We were his world I’ll always remember that for sure. But signs are everywhere telling me he hasn’t ever forgot us and even surfacing out memories I haven’t thought about in years.

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Sisters are soulmates.

We used to stay at hotels because he would work as a mariachi singer and play Sunday brunches for these fancy hotels. The rooms were comped and food was always complementary. We enjoyed our weekends in the hot tubs and pools with him because it was much better than the fridged Wisconsin winters outside. We would have so much fun getting ice cream, using fancy glasses and running around exploring the hotel.

It all stopped so suddenly. Like over night. And then he was gone. And it happened no more. Because we weren’t rich. And that wasn’t what a normal kid did every weekend.

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But the other night was magical. Watching my girls laugh, splash and soak up every moment of being a kid in a fancy hotel pool… Just like I did…once upon a time. And reminding me that my first friend, my oldest companion was my sister. I’ve been with her since day one. She knows what we’ve been through, what happened, how it felt and is my soulmate. Sisters are a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.

So on that night I was reminded that childhood memories are all for the making. There’s a small window to make them remember what their childhood felt like. But sisters will always be there to help you remember where you came from.

Happiest days of birth to my little sister, Gina. May happiness fill your soul and feed your life with pure bliss. xoxo

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16 Mar 2015

A Million Memories And Counting

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How quickly time flies when you are young. As Spring Break ’15 is all over and wrapped neatly with a bow and we are on to the next chapter. It seems surreal that it’s over and upon us soon will be year end parties, summer celebrations and endless summer nights. But are these memories just a dream in the making or will they truly remember what we did together?
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01 Mar 2015

Celebrate Life & Do Something: Life with a Rare Condition

No Comments CAH, Everyday, Kids, Parenting, Raising Children, Uncategorized

“The world is a dangerous place; not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Albert Einstein

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Today is February 28. Only month in a year that we have 28 days, sometimes 29. Crazy, I know. But do you know why we have a leap year?

A common year has 365 days and a leap year 366 days, with the extra, or intercalary, day designated as February 29. A leap year occurs every four years to help synchronize the calendar year with the solar year, or the length of time it takes the earth to complete its orbit about the sun, which is about 365¼ days.

Without the extra 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds that is needed to make the cycle complete, time would be off. Everything would be out of sync. The stars wouldn’t align and the seasons, eventually would be off. It just wouldn’t be “right.” It’s a rare day that February 29th, but we all accept it and celebrate the extra day we get every 4 years.

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Shouldn’t everyday on Earth be a celebration? We’re alive, right? That’s exactly how I feel about my kids. They are mine to celebrate and mine to protect. Unique in their own ways, but exactly who they are because of what makes them…them. And without them, for me, and many people who love them, the world wouldn’t be what it is without them either. We celebrate life, the normal and realize life is precious everyday.

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02 Feb 2015

A Place Where Everybody Knows Your Name

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When I was 19 I started working at a bar. It was a popular bar that I had snuck into with friends. Started chatting with a gentleman at the bar (soon to find out he was the owner) who graciously asked, “How the f”ck did you get into my bar?” at the end of a very nice conversation. It was also followed up by, “You start tomorrow.” The next day was St.Patricks Day and I would work the longest shift I’ve ever worked. 9am to 6am. Best night of my waitressing career.

From there, lots of memories unfolded behind the bar of this quaint Irish Pub set back in the suburbs of Tampa. I meet lots of people who I still call friends to this day. Many friends I have lost touch with, but I could pick up a conversation with them if I saw them…In a heartbeat.

“It’s nine o’clock on a Saturday
The regular crowd shuffles in
There’s an old man sitting next to me
Making love to his tonic and gin.”

I continued on to finish college while working there and was able to finish college debit free because of this job. I enjoyed my job and loved the people there. The owners and co-workers were family. Many of us spent holidays and many occasions together, at the bar, with customers whom also were like family. This definitely was the place where everybody knows your name. Each night was finished off with Piano Man on the jukebox and a great (loud) rendition of Sweet Caroline. I meet many of my closest friends for the first time at the bar so long ago.

To me, this was more than just a bar, just a job, just people who were crossing in my path in life. I spent the better part of my 20′s there, growing up into the person I am today. Meeting people, learning their stories, before social media, when you weren’t glued to your phone when you went out, taking pictures of your beer and posting it. Lots of fun and memories that live on inside my mind and in my heart.

In that tiny bar, I met a boy, who I fell madly in love with. We had never met before and because all the stars were aligned, we crossed paths at that very place.

I truly believe that everyone has meaning in your life. For me, had I never had that conversation with that gentleman at the bar, my life might not be what it is today. People are put in your path for a reason and then taken out, too soon before you can even say thank you. Not sure where I’d be if I wouldn’t have taken that job.

I won’t have the chance to say thank you to Bernie for giving me a job. He was loved by everyone and I was proud to say I knew and worked for him. Thank you for the fond memories and for placing me in the right place at the right time.

“And the piano sounds like a carnival.
And the microphone smells like a beer.
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar.
And say “Man what are you doing here?”

Sing us a song you’re the piano man
Sing us a song tonight
Well we’re all in the mood for a melody
And you’ve got us feeling alright.”

Thanks for the memories Bernie!

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08 Jan 2015

I will ENJOY 2015

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Dear 2015,

So nice to finally meet you! You seem to be pretty relaxed and I like the way you’ve handled yourself, you know, being so new and all. Being the shiny new kid on the block, sometimes people seem to get super excited and ambitious about your new gizmos and gadgets, but I taking a different approach this time. I think I’m going to sit back and have everyone test drive you first, get the feedback I need and then make an educated decision weather or not I should buy into you this year. Sounds good, right?

Yes, I know… This is typically not the way I operate, but it’s time for a change. See, last year wore me out. And so have the preceding 10 years before that. So I’m tired. Well, I’m not THAT tired, but I am older and thus wiser, to see that it’s not always the shiny new bells and whistles that will make me buy into things any more. I want long lasting, durability and longevity. The past ten years have gone by so fast. Lots of new things have been the focus of years past, but you…your different than them.

I’ve finally moved on from that first series into the second. The good stuff. I don’t want new any more. I want to enjoy what I have and relax because it’s about time I don’t have to read the owners manual ten times over to make sure I’m doing it right. 

I’m definitely in this for the long haul and I’m going to sit back and enjoy the ride. I purchased my ticket on this train awhile ago and haven’t truly enjoyed the scenery. So that’s what I’m going to do this year. Enjoy. My new word of the year. 

I want to sleep in more. I want to do more yoga. I want to cook with my kids. I want to play more games with my family. I want to travel to places I’ve never been to. I want to enjoy this wonderful life that I have been blessed with. Life will never stay the same. And I just really don’t want to miss out with what is happening right now.

I hope we get along great this year! I’ve probably had the best year already, and I we if we are only 7 days in, I’m excited to see what the next 360 look like. Here are a few pictures of what you look like so far. Not too shabby!

Thanks in advance for the memories, I’m sure they will all be wonderful.

xx~
M

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24 Dec 2014

A December to Remember

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This has been a December to remember.
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I feel like it is my first adult Christmas. Not sure why, but I feel very grown up this year. Maybe because I’m prepared like my parents used to be, or because all is right with my little slice of heaven on Earth. We have so much to be thankful for, I’m not sure where to start. To my ENTIRE VILLAGE, I can’t thank you enough for all you do for us all year long. From my co- Girl Scout leaders, to my “gym family” to my friends that help arranging my daily pieces when I need help making the day work so my kids can participate in whatever-the-he**-we-are-doing-that- day. To the family I call on for help, near and far, there is no way I can thank you enough for just being there for us when we need you.

My word of this year has been help. I’m often helping, or being helped, but it just might be the help that makes this world go around. I am always willing to help. And I know all of you are willing to help me too. To everyone that has helped us this year, thank you. I wish I could hug you in person and buy you the biggest present to show my gratitude, but please know that I am here to help you whenever you need it. I hope that I can be there when you need me to.

Merry Christmas from us to you. Without you, many of these December memories would not have been possible. And for that, I am forever grateful!

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24 Dec 2014

Into the Woods In Theaters Christmas Day

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What is it about the path of life that has us scared, nervous and excited about the adventure that is to come. For all of us who love the deeper side of fairy tales, the movie “Into the Woods” will take you deep into the woods to take a look at some of the most popular fairy tales of all times (Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel) and what happens when they cross paths in the woods.

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“Into the Woods” first appeared on Broadway in 1987. Created by legendary eight-time Tony, Grammy and Oscar-winning composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim and Tony® winner James Lapine, who also wrote the screenplay. The production, which ran for 764 performances, won Tony®Awards for Best Score, Best Book of a Musical and Best Actress in a Musical. Among other awards.

The modern twist follows Cinderella (Anna Kendrick), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford), Jack and the Beanstalk (Daniel Huttlestone), and Rapunzel (MacKenzie Mauzy), all tied together by an original story involving a Baker and his Wife (James Corden and Emily Blunt), their wish to begin a family and what happens when they meet their neighbor, a Witch (Meryl Streep), who has put a curse on them.

If you were fortunate to see on of the 764 Broadway performances, you’ll love songs from the stage musical, including “Children Will Listen,” “Giants in the Sky,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One Is Alone” and “Agony,” among others.

The whole family will love this movie. I was able to see a sneak preview and can in the words of my 9-year old daughter, “This was the best movie EVER!!” Be sure to follow the official movie for the latest updates.

Like INTO THE WOODS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyIntoTheWoods

Follow INTO THE WOODS on Twitter: @IntoTheWoods

Follow INTO THE WOODS on Tumblr: http://intothewoodsmovie.tumblr.com/

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All images provided by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures as well as the invitation to attend the screening of “Into the Woods” for promotional purposes only.

20 Dec 2014

She’s 9. Art Party Fabulous.

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She’s 9. She lives THE life, wild beyond my imagination. After talking her down from a limo ride and a party at the Four Seasons, I convinced her to have a PlayDate with friends to do art, ice cream sundaes and just be girls. After insisting they “toast” (with only the best sparkling grape juice) we planned a fabulous party and made it happen.

What’s so special about 9? Everything. Last single digit. School is still fun and play in third grade before the big fourth grade year. Life is but a bowl of cherries…each day is sweeter than the next. Mia has grown leaps and bounds into this amazing artist, who wants to help with her sisters and people in her community. She blossomed even more so with her fun loving and happy-go-lucky persona that radiates and everyone loves to be around. She’s a world traveler and hopefully she’ll see it all one day.

Nine is fine and life is good. Happy Birthday Mia!

A is for Art: Mia’s 9th Birthday Party

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03 Dec 2014

Christmas in NYC

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A weekend in pictures. Must visit places. Best if you sit back and enjoy New York City while you are here.

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23 Nov 2014

How To Have a Snowy Holiday in Florida

No Comments Adventures, Family Travel, Florida, Holidays, Kids, Uncategorized

Dreaming of a white Christmas…in Florida? Long shot, right? Well, maybe not…

Moving down to Florida from Wisconsin when I turned 13 was devastating to me during the holidays. It wasn’t Thanksgiving with 80 degrees and lots of sunshine. It surely didn’t feel like Christmas in shorts either. I have never truly adjusted to not having a white Christmas in Florida, but with kids, this is the only holiday they know, so it’s up to me and Chance to make it “feel” like Christmas this time of year. I have mastered a few tricks that work for us to get the kids in the holiday spirit.

Finding The Typical Christmas Memories

While there is typically a slight chill in the air, it’s the snow, the ice skating, the hot chocolate, the cookies, the carolers and of course the Christmas trees and music that give kids (and grown ups) a sense of holiday happiness. For me, this is the first year that Christmas actually felt like Christmas. It has always been difficult to feel like it is “the season” when it’s 80 degrees outside. But this is what my kids know. They didn’t grow up with snowbanks to climb at school, snow days or a white Christmas. I have learned to adapt, but I hope that the snowy holidays I can show them will get them in the spirit too!

So what if I REALLY wanted them to experience what a Snowy Holiday in Florida? I have just found the answer.

1. Experience Kissimmee. Just go. You won’t regret it.

Last year, was my first time visiting Kissimmee and we had really just stumbled upon all that Kissimmee had to offer. We only went to the Gaylord Palms, but now that we know there is so much more is happening, we are sure to make this an annually trip (or trips) to experience a fun day, night or weekend that will become our snowy holiday tradition each year.

2. Spend an evening (or a few nights) at Gaylord Palms

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My parents were down from Chicago in November last year and we decided to stay at the Gaylord Palms Resort. We had never been so we were all so excited! I had heard about ICE! but didn’t know what to expect there either. We had the time of our life and experienced Christmas like never before. We had such an amazing time with all they had going on for Christmas that it’s now a tradition that we go back each November or December, even if just for the day (but a few days is so much better!)

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So much happens each year on their property. Decorations, the show, the ICE! exhibit, Gingy’s House, seeing Santa are reasons to come over and enjoy a holiday get away. The show…THE SHOW. In their lobby each night is a free show that rivals any holiday show I have paid for. Combine aerialist, music- the Luminscent band, the Orlando Ballet plus all their holiday light on display and what you have is wrapped up into the best 30 minute holiday show you’ll ever see. It happens nightly in their atrium and is a show you must see. The music is heavenly and the visuals that accompany the show are just stunning. Did I mention it’s free? If you are only there for an evening, pay the valet fee, come in for dinner at one of their amazing restaurants and grab a seat at the show. Then head over to the ICE! exhibit and head home for the night. If you are staying, be sure to check out the Florida Buzz Report for some great deals at the Gaylord Palms.

And what exactly is this ICE! exhibit I’m speaking of? Each year, over 2 million pounds of ice is hand carved and put on display where spectators are able to marvel at the intricate sculptures carved by the

3. Visit Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Of course Mickey knows how to throw a Christmas party! And what a Christmas party it is! The lights, the decorations, the shows, the Christmas parade and the Cinderella’s castle! This year, the show blended a Frozen theme with their show and the lighting of the castle was actually Elsa icing the castle. Olaf, Anna and more Frozen cast members were on hand to help Elsa let her powers go! Pure magic! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party does require an extra ticket to attend. You can enter the park at 4pm and stay past midnight. There are only a select few weekends that this happens and once tickets are gone, that’s it. In addition to being open for later hours, because there is only a certain number of people who are able to attend each night, the lines are definitely shorter as there isn’t a great number of people inside the park. We had an amazing time at Magic Kingdom and will definitely be back to celebrate the holidays with Mickey.

For more information on Walt Disney World Mickey’s very Merry Christmas Park visit the Trekaroo blog.

4. Stop by Celebration for a Snowy Night

Just outside of Disney World itself is the town that Disney built. You might not even know it’s there. Celebrate in Celebration as kids will play with faux snow, ice skate (on synethtic ice in 80 degree weather) or have a holiday dinner at the Columbia restaurant. Each night, starting at 6pm, the town square in Celebration becomes a place for carolers and families looking to celebrate the season. Take pictures in front of their Christmas tree for your holiday card or just stroll around the quaint shops complete with whimsical Christmas window decorations. Time seems to stand still here and maybe it will for you too while you celebrate the season.

For more on Celebration and their Snowy Night Celebration visit the Trekaroo blog.

I’ve realized over the years that it’s not just the snow that evokes my Christmas memories, but more about the traditions my kids will remember to bring their childhood to life during the holidays. But yes, because I grew up having a mostly white Christmas, it’s so fun to visit these places that help to bring me back down to memory lane, while creating fun memories for my kids.

Plan your trip to Kissimmee to see these Snowy Holiday events by reading more about them on Trekaroo.com.

For more information on a Snowy Holiday in Kissimmee, here are a few links:

The DadScribe Blog
Fun and Frugal Mom Blog
JonahBonah Blog

Disclaimer: I was hosted by Experience Kissimmee to experience these activities. All opinions are my own.

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