Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter

Happy Easter from our family to yours!
Our days was pretty relaxing and peaceful..
Olivia colored eggs in the morning and had a blast in the process. 
We then went to church and enjoyed a quite family lunch after that. 
I hope everyone else enjoyed the holiday too!





Disney Cruise (Part 1)










We recently enjoyed our first Disney Cruise (first ever cruise too!), and it was one of the most amazing experiences I've had in my life.. This trip has completely transformed the way I see vacations and I'd like to share my observations with my readers (and whoever would like to know about it)...
Since there are so many details about this whole cruise experience, I have decided to write my review in several parts.  In this first post, I will review a number of aspects of the cruise and will keep doing that until I am done..


The Check-In process: this might be different depending on the port you sail out of, but I must say that things were incredibly smooth at the Miami port.  Several days prior to our sail date, I received a personalized booklet in the mail with specific details about the process; including luggage tags, arrival times, etc.  It took us less than 10 min to check in and be on our way to the ship. This fast check-in process was definitely a great way to start our cruise...

The Ship: We traveled on the famous "Disney Wonder", which is a 10-deck ship that features amazing amenities and variety of sections including three pools, a state of the art gym, multiple restaurants and theaters and a beautiful lobby atrium, which is considered the "heart" of the ship. The ship is amazingly well kept, clean and just plain beautiful.  It is just the right size and one of the most appealing sights in the sea... I can only hope I get to visit the "Wonder" again in my life...
I was also very impressed with the hygiene measures throughout the ship; there were wet wipes at the entrance of every restaurant, health warnings everywhere and a very health conscious staff. 
The atrium

Staterooms: cruise ships aren't necessarily famous for having spacious staterooms, after all most of the time is spent outside the room since cruises are so much fun. I won't say the Disney Wonder offers HUGE rooms because that isn't true, but I will say that the staterooms are incredibly comfortable and spacious enough.  The room features a king size bed in the main area, and bunk beds in an alternate section, which is divided by a curtain; this way both the kids and parents can enjoy some privacy in the room.  The shower area is comfortably separated from the toilet and main washroom.  The room is just the right size for a family of four and I must say the beds and linens were awesome! (soft blankets, anyone?)


Restaurants/Food: Our ship featured three main restaurants (Triton's, Animator's Palate and Parrot Cay), which you alternate on different nights so that everyone can enjoy a variety of foods.  It also features several other food spots for more informal eating, snacks, sweets, etc.  I could probably spend several days talking about the food because it was that amazing; there were tons of varieties including meat, pasta, fish, salads.. you name it, they had it.. and it was all so delicious.... 
Desserts were also scrumptious and every restaurant had a great variety of cocktails and liquors all very reasonably priced (alcoholic beverages are NOT included in the price of the cruise).  My favorite restaurant was Triton's only because the ambience was slightly better, but they were all so good.. 


Destinations:  During our cruise, we had two main destinations; Grand Cayman and Cozumel.  If I had anything negative to say about the cruise, it would be the places where we stopped. 
Our first port of call was Grand Cayman, which probably qualifies as the ugliest place I've visited in a while, not much to see there and the weather for the day certainly didn't help (it was cloudy and chilly).  Additionally, Grand Cayman doesn't have a place for ships to dock, so we had to board tender boats and then take buses to the main part of the island, which was a tedious and terrible process...definitely nor worth our time. I do have to say, though that it was nice to get online for a few minutes and take advantage of the free wifi on the island. ;)


The second port of call was Cozumel, Mexico, which was slightly better than Grand Cayman and definitely more picturesque.  There is a dock in Cozumel so that helped to make our visit a little better. Cozumel offers nice Mexican shops, fun restaurants and lots of picture spots. 
I did hear that the cruise destinations are better when you book separate excursions, but we didn't do that because most of them had age restrictions which didn't work out for us...
It was still nice to visit different places and get off the ship for a few hours and obviously Disney has no control over how nice (or un-nice) cruise destinations are.  We still enjoyed our days..


This concludes Part 1 of my Disney Cruise review.  In my next post, I will review:
- Character Spotting
- Events & Entertainment
- Service & Staff
- Amenities
I look forward to writing more about this fun cruise and all of the different categories that deserve a review. 
I hope you have enjoyed this first part and go on to read the next ones. 
Happy Blogging! ;)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

"Reminder Appliance"- Part 2

"Thumbusters" (image courtesy of www.thumbusters.com)
It has been a little over a month since I wrote about Olivia's "reminder appliance" and how we were hoping and praying that this would finally be the end of the dreaded thumb sucking habit (which I happen to think is disgusting...but I'm sure you already knew that!)...
So.. like I wrote and that post, the appliance seemed to be working just fine and Olivia didn't even attempt to suck her thumb for a few days (a week, maybe?)... She was so proud of her new apparatus and kept showing it to everyone and telling them how she didn't suck her thumb anymore...I, of course, was a happy mama!...
Until.....she SUCKED HER THUMB AGAIN!  Apparently she figured out a way to put her thumb behind the appliance and still suck it comfortably...Granted, because of the position of the appliance, she can no longer push her teeth out and cannot suction like she did before...(yay for no more nasty noises and crooked teeth!)
She is no longer impacting her teeth and they actually seem to be straightening on their own.. Her thumb's dermatitis is also not as bad and the smell isn't as terrible because due to the lack of suction, she doesn't produce as much saliva as before....
And while I know I should be looking at all these positives and counting my (her) blessings, I really want her to STOP altogether.. I want her to forget about it and to NEVER do it again... (wow, I sound like a selfish brat!)...but really...can a mother hope?
So, our next step is "Thumbusters", a glove-like device sold online ($13.95), which claims to serve as a reminder for kids who want to drop the thumb-sucking habit... In our case, I know Olivia just forgets and that's how her thumb ends up in her mouth again..She has told me several times how bad she wants to quit and how she wants me to help her (what a junkie..LOL)... So.. since we've already gotten rid of part of the problem (her pushing her teeth out), we're now going to deal with the other part of it since the "reminder appliance" didn't quite remind her not to suck the thumb... I now have my hopes vested on this device, which should be delivered to us this week... we'll have to wait and see how it works out...
I hope to write another follow up post in a few weeks reporting the awesome results we will get from this (wishful thinking, anyone?).....
Wish us luck! (again!)

St. Patrick's Day fun

I'm obviously not Irish or even close, not a beer lover and definitely not a party animal..BUT green is one of my favorite colors and St. Patrick's Day is always a great excuse to celebrate something with the family.. so we did...
We dressed up in green from head to toe and set out to enjoy our Irish celebration...
We went to a festival and enjoyed some music and free party favors.. it was great!
The girls had a blast and we enjoyed time with friends and family... we sure felt "lucky" today! ;)

To those of you out there with some Irish blood... Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An update on....ME!

After I wrote this post, I had several people approach me to follow up on how I had been feeling...
Some friends seemed genuinely concerned about my "funky" mood and sent me caring notes addressing the issue; some even went as far as showing gestures of love and appreciation in an effort to make me feel better... So...to those friends (you know who you are), you have no idea how much I love and appreciate your words, notes, calls, etc.. it means the world knowing that I have so many shoulders to cry on and so many people who truly understand that life has its imperfections and that it's ok to feel down sometimes.. like a good friend put it "it's very human"...and that's exactly what we all are...

So to get back on the positivism track, I will say that I've been doing SO MUCH BETTER since that post and I know that writing it helped me a lot.. (the fact that my husband is back home after two grueling weeks of business trips also helps! ;))...
I started reading books and articles about positive affirmations and I decided to adjust my lens and my perspective on key issues and concerns...
I can say that I'm finding my way back to my "happy place" and I'm amazed at how powerful the human mind and heart can be... It's so great to see that a desire to be happy along with a little bit of faith can turn a dark scene into something so positive and so bright...
I've prayed a lot, I've read a lot and I've talked to so many wonderful people about how normal it is to feel crappy some days and how important it is to accept it and to want to change it...
I'm finding success in changing my path and being in charge of how I feel...
I've also noticed I'm less irritable, more cheery and definitely more enthusiastic about life and the perfection that I find even in the most "imperfect" of days....

"I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing HAPPINESS"....

Happy Blogging! ;)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

"Awkwardness"

I'm sure most mothers often find themselves consumed with their children's needs, milestones, desires, goals, etc.. and of course I'm not the exception... I love my kids to death and I'm always so concerned about how they're are doing and how they're adjusting to their life stages...
So....we've come to this stage of "awkwardness" in Olivia's life, where I'm having a hard time understanding what she's going through...
Let's start by saying that she's growing up way too fast.. not only in size (she's 52 lbs and 46 in), way taller than most kids in her class and certainly very robust.. but she's also maturing at light's speed!.. Just today she told me she "had been thinking" and she determined that all Disney characters were FAKE!! What?? My heart dropped.. I'm so not ready for her to lose that innocence.. I love that she loves princesses and everything Disney... and I'm not ready for her face to stop lighting up when she sees a parade or a cartoon movie!  *insert sad face*
She is at the point, where none of the kid's clothes fits her, but she's still not big enough for BIG kid's clothes.. She wants to pick her own stuff and dress herself and I'm not ready to let her do that all the time...She doesn't like pink anymore, refuses shirts with cartoons and is very picky with fashion!
She's starting to question so many things, including my opinions and requests.. I'm hearing "but why, mommy?" way too often these days.. isn't she "too little" for that??...
She has also started to choose her friends and doesn't willingly go on all play dates that I set up.. I've heard "that's boring, mommy" or "I don't feel like going today".. isn't that supposed to happen MUCH later??
I have also noticed she has really started showing strong feelings towards things, people, places and even foods.. It's hard to see this *little lady* say, "she's not very nice!" or "I don't feel like eating that today" and actually have her reasons... *insert another sad face*... I know that's part of growing up, but why must it happen so fast??
On top of that, I feel like Olivia is too self conscious already.. she already criticizes herself in pictures and even requests that some pictures not be posted or shared... The other day she told me "let me see my pictures before you show anybody"...and then she said "I look terrible in that one!".. Why? why? why is this happening so soon?? She's not even 6 yet!
Are all kids her age this precocious?  Why is this "awkwardness" starting so fast? How can I freeze time?
I need to know that I'm not the only mom feeling this way... please, please, please tell me your 5 year old is growing fast too!;

Sunday, March 3, 2013

The "imperfections" of my life...

I haven't blogged in a few days and there are many reasons for that...
First off, I've experienced a bit of "blogger's block" and have had no inspiration at all.. On top of it, I've been sick with a bad cold, swamped with work stuff and Iggy has been out of town for work, which makes my life very complicated (and lonely)...
So.. considering I pride myself in being a positive person and I had basically nothing good to say for the last few days, I've been away from the blogosphere....
Today I'm back to talk about the "imperfections"of life and how the way we look at things affects the outcome of our efforts...
I've been feeling down lately and thinking about how "imperfect" my life is and how I would change things if I could...
-My husband travels for work... A LOT... I hate to see him go every time and I even resent him from leaving me and for having to say good bye so often... I feel so lonely when he's not around and the girls have a way to really get on my nerves when I don't have "hubby support" at hand...
- I've been at my job for almost 8 years.. sometimes I feel like I'm stuck in a rut... there are supposed to be so many "opportunities" in the company but I just don't see them..sometimes I just want to run away from it all and forget about it....
- My kids drive me nuts some days... they fight, they whine, they make messes, they refuse to eat when I give them food...
- I seem to have a hormonal problem (recently diagnosed), which has caused me to gain weight (a lot)...I can't seem to find the motivation to exercise and that makes me depressed...
- I'm always so exhausted and at times I feel like I want to sleep all day and never wake up.. it's a weird feeling.. sometimes I don't get it...
- I've been sick with a cold that doesn't seem to go away.... no medicine makes me feel better and that makes me so frustrated...

So.. as I sit here and think about the "imperfections" of my life, I have decided to look at each one and turn it around and look for the positive in them..
- I have a wonderful husband, who has a job he loves.. and even though he does travel A LOT, he always comes back with a new outlook.. His trips can't compare to long and dreadful deployments some wives have to put up with.. I feel lonely but I know he's always thinking of me and all he does is for us.. and I love him for that...
- My job is horrible most sometimes, but at least I have a job.. Not only do I have a job, but it is also a job that touches so many people's lives.. I work in a place where I can make a difference, even if it's just by offering a smile that will brighten someone's day.. that's priceless...
- My kids are healthy and lively... they're two smart little girls that can turn a horrible day into a wonderful one.. they're energetic and loving and for that I'm thankful and fortunate...
- My hormonal problem was successfully diagnosed and I'm doing something about it.. I've gained weight, yes, but at least I have the option of exercising.. I have a healthy body and even though I might not have the energy to engage in any physical activity at the moment.. it will always be an option...
- I have the power to transform my exhaustion into positive energy.. AND I can always go on vacation (our Disney cruise is only a few days away..woo hoo!!).. and of course I should go to bed earlier.. ha ha!
- My sickness (this terrible cold) WILL go away because a cold won't last forever (it can't last forever, right?)..and by the time Iggy gets back from his next trip I'll be healthy and ready for our cruise!

Even tough our lives might seem "imperfect" at times.. it's never a bad idea to look at our problems from another perspective.. one that will make us feel better about it and that will teach us that there is a silver lining in everything and we can only see it if we have the right attitude and frame of mind...
I'm one who struggles a lot with "imperfect" times and cranky moments, but I always have faith that things will get better and I will always find the way back to my "happy place" and that I will make PEACE WITH IMPERFECTIONS!

Happy Blogging! ;)