Sunday, August 21, 2016

Shelby goes to Hollywood (Studios)

It's no secret that my family is a little Disney crazy. So, imagine our torture when my sister and BIL chose to wait FOREVER to take her to Disney for the first time.

It wasn't until after then that we were allowed to take her ourselves. You can see how thrilled we all were.....




She is obsessed with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. Homegirl has watched some episodes so many times that she can tell you what's about to happen, "Pete about to come!!!"..... She also loves Pete. We decided to take her to Hollywood Studios and to the Disney Junior Live show. Her mind was BLOWN.....





She wasn't a fan of the parts of the show where Mickey and the Gang weren't on the stage. Sorry, Jake, Sophia, and Handy Manny.

For dinner, we went to Hollywood and Vine where they were having a Minnie's Summer Party for the character dinner. She was in Heaven!!! No fear of the characters, all excitement. Usually, the characters will come around twice with these meals (so the kids really do get some time with them). When they all came the second time around, they would all kneel down so she could run to them. You could tell that they were as smitten with her as she was with them.....





Goofy took her for a walk around the entire restaurant. My mom got video of them walking around waving at everyone, like they were holding their own parade. Goofy didn't do that with anyone else, that evening......






We were only there about five hours, but we had a blast!! The whole way home, she talked about her "abbenture" to visit Mickey's house! 

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Going down the rabbit hole...

I'm just going to go ahead and warn that this post may not make a ton of sense. It will probably be a jumbled mess of my thoughts, but I just need to get them out.

A close family member is going through some pretty serious issues and has been for the past 4 months. I won't go into all the details, obviously, but it's been a rough road. While I've been dealing with it second-hand and have been trying to support as much as possible, the past few days have been way more up close and personal as some of the other family who are closer needed a break and so did the person in question.

I've said before that I've dealt with some serious anxiety/panic issues in the past. Over time, it has gotten way better and now, while I do worry and get anxious more than I probably need to, I only have one or two true incidents a year. So, in some way, I do have an idea of what this person is going through when they are having an incident, but having witnessed it firsthand, I realize it's way beyond "simple" anxiety.

I say "simple" because it's a lot easier to recognize/diagnose and to manage, in the grand scheme of what others deal with. I also say "simple" because, for me (and from what a lot of people I've spoken to who have panic/anxiety also describe), we still have a grip on reality. We might be worrying about or picturing extreme scenarios, but there is still a part that understands that we're being completely irrational and ridiculous in that moment. It usually makes me even more upset, but I do KNOW that it's all in my head. I also can fairly quickly find a way to calm myself down or break the destructive train of thought. I still can name all the good and the reasons in my life to not stay in that bad place. I know why I need to fight my way out of it. Even better, with a lot of time and learning to cope, I can now recognize when I'm about to go off the deep end. I know the signs and can usually reign myself in before it gets to a point of out of control.

There is no rationalizing or calming this person down. At all. It's full-blown paranoia, fear, and delusion. There is no hope and no good.

It is the most frustrating and scary thing in the world to try to convince someone that there is a reason to put one foot forward when they just don't see it. It's incomprehensible when you know all of the good in life and the person in front of you can't.

I truly believe there is something going on besides circumstance. That there is a mental condition at play. However, it's been very difficult to convince "the major players" of this and it's been impossible to get enough stability with a medical professional to be able to determine what EXACTLY the case may be.

The system can be pretty screwed up when someone goes from being a healthy, thriving, sane individual to all of a sudden not being able to function. I've seen evidence of how a person with a mental illness can end up homeless. Thankfully, it has not gotten to that point, yet, and there are enough people trying to fight for this person that there's great hope that it won't come to that. But, I can see why it happens. It's an endless cycle of bandaids, but no actual treatment.

I just wish there was a magical way to get answers and start to make things better. I know that it takes time and effort. I just keep having faith that God has a plan and everything will fall into place, eventually.


Thursday, June 2, 2016

A quick jaunt around Part One of 2016......

It's hard to believe that we're halfway into 2016. It's been a whirlwind.... a lot of fun.

I have so many things to expound on, but there are always those little moments of life that you want to remember. Lest I forget.....


Junior League

I mentioned before that I joined JL and LOVE it. Still so true and the love is growing. We just finished out the year and I'm looking forward to next year. I'm staying on the two committees I was on for this year (Provisional and Special Events). I'm actually chairing the Special Events committee.... there are a lot of things I feel can be improved upon and the leaders agree with my vision. Most of the Provisional committee is staying on, which I am so happy about!


The girls (Katherine, Shannon, Emily, Katherine, and Kathleen) and I at a party for one of our major fundraisers.




Our committee meetings always turned into a party. We went into this one planning a party for Kathleen's birthday. That candle? Coolest candle ever. It opened up, spun, and sang.




Courtney and I at the end of the year banquet.




Kathleen and I at the end of the year banquet.




Marjorie, Malonie, Kathleen, Meranda, and I at a Prospective Member event.




Work

My job is going really well, this year! *knockonwood* I've always loved it, but I had some growing pains in the past couple years. This time last year, management finally "got it" and worked to improve some things for me. Since then, it's still busy and stressful and sometimes not a walk in the park, but I'm a lot more fulfilled than I was for a while.



My coworker Mike walked in my office holding this monstrosity. He found it outside of a side door in between my office and his studio. Blech!!!




These people are my best friends at work. We were at an event our station was hosting and got a bit slap happy.




One of the perks is getting tickets to fun events.... like a Rum Fest. My cousin Heidi and brother Trevor joined me at this one. My assistant Chris hung out with us and we all had a blast.




This little nugget has been my life saver in the past year. Ashley worked out her internship hours and practicum to be with me a full year. Now, she's hanging out to keep learning and hopefully get hired on. I'm working on it so hard!!!




Oh, and small detail.... I met Kate Upton. Her boyfriend (and I think now fiancee) plays for the Detroit Tigers, who call us home for Spring Training. They had an event and we supported. She was super nice. And, a lot tinier, lean, etc than she looks on the cover of magazines.






Family and Friends

I'm really so blessed to have such great people in my life. And, the most adorable niece in the world (more in depth posts coming).

We see one another all the time, so sometimes it doesn't feel like "an event." But, it is wonderful and I don't take it for granted.



We had an Easter party and a bunch of friends/family came over. It ended up being a great time.




The top left? That's Lydia. She is seven now and it's breaking my heart how big she's getting. I can't handle it.




This was taken in the bathroom at an event. The bathrooms were decorated to the max. Billie Jo and I thought this was hysterical, so it was selfie time.


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Meeting My Yoda

Living where I do, I have an advantage in that a LOT of people come here to visit. I've been able to meet several Bloggy Friends this way. Usually, they are coming to Disney and as a Passholder, it's really easy to meet up for a meal or quick cup of coffee. I love it.

One particular meet-up has been YEARS in the works. Gina is one of my favorites and always has been. She's the most caring and non-judgemental person. I honestly don't remember how we became friends, but ever since, she's been someone I can text or call about anything. I call her "My Yoda."

Quite literally, for about six weeks straight this past Fall, I would call her every Sunday after church. I'd be crying, yelling, confused.... She would patiently listen, advise, pray, and just support.

Like I said, I've waited for years to meet her. I remember when Harry Potter opened up at Universal, she started talking about coming down. They've made tentative plans over and over, but it just wasn't the right time.

However, in March, the time had FINALLY come. The original plan was for me to meet with them after work at Magic Kingdom. What actually happened worked out so much better.

I'd come off a super long weekend, working. I was exhausted, but so excited to meet her. They'd been at the park all day and were ready to call it a night. With some quick texting, we decided that they would walk to the Contemporary and I would pick them up to take them back to their hotel.


I've said for years that I couldn't wait to hug her neck.....



We ended up eating dinner, enjoying a couple of drinks, and just talking. It was great. It's always a tiny worry when you meet someone in person for the first time that they won't live up. This teeny-tiny worry barely registered with Gina and then completely evaporated in about .025 seconds. She's fabulous.

And, her sweet, sweet family. OMG. They are precious. As we were getting ready to pray over our meal, Gina told her sons, "Jess loves Jesus, too." Her husband's genuine joy and "Oh, how wonderful!" at hearing that was so sweet. Sometimes, we get a bit jaded.... our Faith becomes routine. To be reminded by that small gesture that finding another brother or sister in Christ is something to be happy about was a moment I won't soon forget.

The evening ended all too soon, but with promises that it won't be our last face-to-face. As supremely tired as I was (so, so tired), I was filled to the brim with happiness. Finally met My Yoda!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Running the Dark Side

Last weekend (April 15 - 17) was the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon - The Dark Side at Disney World. Besides the fact that I (once again) wasn't physically ready for it, I was excited to see what kind of characters this race brought out.

I wasn't disappointed.

My mom decided to sign up Lydia for the 5k, along with her normal Kids Races. Since that race was Friday, they spent Thursday night over at Disney to be ready for the 4:30am wake-up call. They basically walked the whole way, but they had fun. And, really, who expects a 7 year old to run 3 miles? Not us. They got some SUPER cute pictures along the way.

Apparently, toward the end, my mom told Lydia that she needed to run at least a little bit of it. At which point, Lydia bartered running for being able to use my mom's phone to record and take pictures. THAT was entertainment in itself.

They finished in about an hour. Again, pretty decent for walking. Lydia was so proud of herself and her new medal that she took this unprompted selfie..... which I think is the most adorable thing in the world......




That evening, I drove over and met up with them at Magic Kingdom. They'd been there for several hours (after resting up at the hotel) and were having a blast, though my mom's poor ankle was killing her. We hung out for a bit and decided to head back to the hotel to grab dinner.

Before we left, Lydia cashed in on my mom's promise to get her a balloon. It's funny.... we're at Disney so often that we rarely get souvenirs. Usually, it's a stuffed character to add to the collection - all the kids in our life actually do sleep with them and will carry them around to love on. About once a year, she will BEG for a balloon. This time she desperately wanted a "BB-A" balloon, despite the amount of times we tried to convince her that it's BB-8. Regardless, she got the balloon and was happy.



The next morning was the Kids Races. For the first time, Irelynn and Carter were participating. Seriously, the Kid Races are the cutest thing ever. Mom got them all little outfits and prizes.

Irelynn was convinced that she needed to "WIN THE RACE." We told her it was all about having fun and doing her best, but Little Miss Perfectionist was determined. She did, in fact, cross the finish line before anyone in her heat.

Carter just ran to have fun. He really didn't know what was going on, but he was having a blast.




After the races, I picked up my packet. The one thing I was disappointed in was the lack of shirts to swap out. We sign up for these races 6+ months in advance. And, for some reason, the sizing always ends up different. These shirts seemed a little tight, so while there were plenty of smalls to be found, you couldn't size up.

The rest of the day was spent resting and relaxing. Most of the halfs start at 5:30am, so that's what I assumed. However, I learned (thanks to a text from my friend Brianne) that this one was at 5am. That doesn't sound like a lot, but at 2:45am it feels like a lot. We had to be on the buses by 3:30am. Craziness.

When I woke up at the dreaded 2:45, my first thought was, "I really don't feel like doing this, today." I almost just rolled over and went back to sleep. However, it was the very first one, it was expensive, and I don't like the concept of not trying.

The bus took about 45 minutes to get there, so I got a nap in, which was wonderful and helped pep me up a little. I met up with Brianne, who made friends with this guy named Evan on her bus, and they got me a bit excited, too. We stood in line to take a picture with this guy........



By the time we were done (it was a long line), they were about to start the race and we needed to get to our corrals. I will say that they really made it special. Stormtroopers came out to deliver our mission....


We were still walking out when the first few corrals stepped off. The fireworks display was REALLY cool. Brianne and I were in different corrals, so we bid each other good luck and split up.

Again, the feel of this was different than other races. It really was fun. The played clips of the movies in between corrals. They played Star Wars music along with the fireworks. It was just neat.




My corral stepped off at about 5:40am. This was a totally different route than other races, so it was neat to have the change-up. There were a lot of hills. And, once you got on the Osceola Parkway (to and from Animal Kingdom), it was a long stretch of boring road. But, overall I liked it. The only thing I wasn't fond of was finishing at ESPN. It was just too cramped and congested. Plus, the entire way to ESPN and then through it you were facing the sun, which was rough.

I got a PR....... for the worst time I've ever done. It was bad. I wasn't prepared. I'm not in shape. And, I just wasn't in the mood to go anywhere on foot for 13+ miles. However, I did finish, so there's that. From what I understand, A LOT of people got swept, so at least I wasn't alone in being unprepared.

The rest of the day was spent showering, changing, packing, and then walking around Magic Kingdom. We ate at the new restaurant, Skipper's Jungle Canteen (or something like that). I *really* enjoyed it and would recommend it.

It's only been a week since the race and I'm already working harder to prepare for Wine and Dine in November. Not only do I want to do better in these races, I need to lose weight, get stronger, be healthier. Hopefully, this time next year, I'll be WAY better off and can take the Dark Side with no problem.



Monday, April 18, 2016

A Little More Grown Up....

It's not like this blog of mine has been getting a ton of action, lately. However, every time I've come to it for the past several months, I knew it needed a change.

I've had several designs over the years. In fact, I'm kicking myself for not getting screenshots along the way. The last one was by the lovely Jess and lasted me a good 3+ years. It was fun and I adored it. But, it was time for a change. Some simplicity.

Thus, what you see.

It feels a little more grown up to me. Sort of reflects a few of the changes I'm making in my life.

I truly do hope to write in the space a little more often. Even if I don't, I like the calmer feeling I get now when coming to it.


Monday, March 14, 2016

Show Us Your Life.... A Reintroduction Of Sorts

I haven't posted in SO long. I read several blogs, but have just been horrible about posting. I think it's because it's become so much easier to document life on other forms of social media?

Anyway, in trying to add something new to the ole blog, I thought I would link-up to Kelly's "Show Us Your Life" series. I remember doing this years ago when I first started blogging. Maybe this will get me back in the blogging spirit. Or, maybe it will just be a nice way to update myself.

If you've never read before.... Hi, I'm Jess :)

I'm a native Floridian.... Central Floridian to be exact. I really, truly love Florida and am proud to call it home.

I'm a fan of all things Disney and can often be found roaming the parks like my own personal playground. Over the past few years, I've gotten involved in the RunDisney races and have completed five half-marathons, two ten-milers, and one semi-half (the Wine & Dine Half got shortened due to weather). I'm not particularly good at running (I'd like to get better and really need to try), but I do enjoy participating in the races!




While I am single, most of my family lives here, so I have lots of love around me. And, while I'm not a mommy, I have several adorable children around me to love on and spoil :) I'm also the proud Auntie Kecka to the BEST NIECE IN THE WORLD. Seriously, she absolutely kills me.








I work in this crazy field called Radio and I love it. I'm a Promotions Director.... which is a fun, stressful, and varied job. I started as an intern over 10 1/2 years ago and recently celebrated 7 years in my current position. I don't know if it is what I will be doing forever, but it suits me, for now. Also, for all of the headache and stress, there are some pretty cool perks....





When I'm not working, spending time with family/friends, or enjoying Disney, I'm focused on my new love.... Junior League. For real. I joined last year because several of my friends convinced me and I am loving it more than I ever thought possible. I'm more involved than my original convincing friends are, at this point. The committee I'm on is AWESOME and I've made some great friends.





That's all for now!! Thanks for stopping by and hopefully I'll be able to keep up with Kelly's link-up enough to at least get back into the blogging groove!!