Thursday, June 28, 2012

...These Streets Will Make You Feel Brand-New (Or Else They'll Give You 37 Blisters On Your Feet)

Now that it's been over a month since our trip to NYC, I think I'll blog about it.

Why now, you ask?

Why not?

Let me start by saying, I love New York.  Seriously.  It's probably one of my very favorite places to visit.  But, I'm always ready to come home.  As much as I love it, I really don't understand a city that a) never sleeps, b) doesn't have sweet tea.  Anywhere.  Believe me, I tried. And c) looks at you as if you're clinically insane when you say "hi" to a stranger on the sidewalk.

Wanna immediately get pegged as a tourist?  Say "hey, how are ya?" when you accidentally make eye contact with a random stranger.  Actually, just make eye contact with a random stranger, and that's probably enough, in and of itself.

Wearing jeans AND tennis shoes at the same time? Dead giveaway. Accidentally saying "y'all" to somebody?  It's all over.  You might as well strap on a fanny pack.


I actually had the following conversation with a (very hipster-ish) sales guy in a store:

Hipster Sales Guy:  So, where are you from?

Me:  How do you know I'm not from here?

Hipster Guy (snorting):  Honey?  You're wearing jeans and tennis shoes.  And you just said y'all.  Soooo, I'm gonna go with the south.

Me:  Not just the south.....the BEST southern state.  

(Not trying to get all feisty, just gotta throw out some Georgia pride.)

Hipster Guy:  Texas?

Me:  WHAT?!  No.  They're way too big for their britches over in Texas.

Hipster Guy:  Um, yeah.  You definitely just said "britches."

(Dear Texas, I actually love you. Don't hate me. I was just teasin' y'all.  Ha!)

Smoochin' in Times Square.
(Apparently I now feel the need to talk as southern as I possibly can.)

There's nothing like embarrassing yourself in the middle of Times Square, just for the joy it'll bring your child later.
And no, Starbucks didn't pay me for that product placement.
Actually, I paid them. So......

Family fun, looking NOT AT ALL touristy.

Yep. Out of the entire store, we ended up with the same two items.

I seem to have permanently attached a Starbucks cup to my hand.
No shame.

Our tour of NBC studios, during which we spotted Usher, and almost got kicked out of the building.

So, you may notice that I have changed races just a bit of a tan in some of these.
I'll just say this: it's usually not a good thing when, at the end of a spray tan appointment, your technician says "uh-oh."  

Again, just trying to impress a certain 2 year-old.
I didn't tell her that Elmo made us pay him $2, and smelled like urine.

Okay, I really DID try to wear cute shoes during the day.
But on day 4 of band-aiding my feet constantly, I just gave up.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to have pizza in Brooklyn.  

Squeeze pic!

The unbelievable Manhattan skyline

Clearly, Jamey has a bit of a shopping problem.  
He made us hold his bags all day....what a diva.

Aw, brothers and sisters.
And I'm totally jealous of Sara's ability to rock a hat like that.

Our last night, at Carnegie Hall for the Nashville Symphony's performance.
I wish I could say I had a blast, but at that point, I had come down with some kind of funk that made me lose my voice and cough like a maniac constantly.

(Which is SUPER fun when you're at the symphony and you're supposed to be quiet.  Luckily, I had some water and M&M's in my purse.)

(Yes, M&M's are obviously the cure for a raging cough.)

It was an incredible trip, and we loved every minute!  Even if I did have to tape our HGTV reveal the day after we got home, while sounding like "4 packs a day Gladys".

Totally worth it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I Survived

Well, I officially survived Disney.  You all know I was a little bit worried, but we actually had a GREAT time.  (Which is largely due to my friend Anna, who, after reading the blog, facebook messaged me with a TON of great Disney survival tips.  Thank you, Anna! We basically did everything you suggested and it was awesome!)

We stayed at a condo property in Orlando, which fortunately had a pool and a playground to keep mommy AG from going insane getting bored while John worked.

Incidentally, playgrounds aren't so good for potty-training. (I believe the word you're looking for is "duh.")  Of the two times we went to play, AG pooped in her underwear, um, let's see....BOTH TIMES.

Poop-2, AG's Pants-0.

After that, we pretty much avoided the playground at all costs.

Allow me to share a few other lessons I learned at Disney:

1.  Two and a half may be just a tad too young for the Princess Tea Party.  Either that, or she just hates princesses.  Thirty-one, on the other hand, is the perfect age.

Clearly, there aren't enough opportunities in life to wear a tiara, am I right?

2.  Apparently, dads don't usually attend the Princess Tea Party with their daughters.  As John discovered upon being the only male in the entire room full of princesses, pink, and tiny little tea cups.

He totally owned it though.  I may have even caught Sleeping Beauty flirting with him.....sending me in search of the nearest spinning wheel.

(Okay, I'm out for that.)

3.  Dads with strollers are a little bit scary.  It's like the Indy 500 or something, especially when they're jockeying for position at a popular ride.  Excuse me, husband?  Do you see me literally jogging to keep up with you?  Simmer down, now!

4.  If you wear an inappropriately warm shirt to the Magic Kingdom, you may just find yourself purchasing a Cinderella tank top from a random gift shop.  If Cinderella went goth and started wearing studs, that is.  It is very likely the ugliest shirt I've ever laid eyes on, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

And $34 goth princess tank tops.

5.  It is TOTALLY worth it to push through your toddler's nap time so she can see the Main Street parade at 3pm.

(Just remind yourself of that later, when she's sobbing hysterically because her grapes accidentally touched her grilled cheese sandwich.  Or something hugely upsetting like that.)
I'd do it again in a heartbeat for another smile like this.

Here are a few other photos from the trip.....

That crazy Minnie, always trying to jump into every photo.

To infinity and beyond......

John actually tried to make me go do the Macarena with all those crazy people down front.  He claimed it would be fun for Ally Grace.  I am pretty sure he meant it would be fun for him to watch me humiliate myself.

Um, I'm good.  But thanks.

A little venture out to MY happy place.

John REALLY wanted to wear a fanny pack, but I convinced him just to carry AG's backpack instead.
Which is obviously far less embarrassing.
(I also may or may not have promised to NOT put this picture on the blog.  Oops.)

Date Night!  This was approximately five seconds before the humidity killed my hair, thus prompting me to wear it in a ponytail for the remainder of the trip.
Florida humidity=no joke

Ally Grace meeting two of her favorite "people" in the world.
We are just a tiny bit obsessed with Toy Story these days.

(And AG likes it a lot too.)

After all that chaos fun, I am SO. GLAD. to be home.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a baseball bat to my computer, Office Space-style, as it's now taken me THREE HOURS and SIX COMPUTER SHUT-DOWNS to get this blog written.

I'd almost rather take my chances at the playground.

Monday, June 4, 2012

We're here!

Yep. We made it to Orlando. I probably shouldn't have told AG that we were going to Disney just yet though, since she keeps thinking we're there already. She's constantly shouting "We're at Disney, mommy!".....Like when we were at the airport....when we got on the plane....when we picked up our bags at baggage get the idea.

As you can see, Minnie INSISTED on coming. Such a diva, right?

And in case you were wondering, toddlers and Xanax aren't the best combination. But I'm assuming neither are toddlers and panic attacks, so......

(And clearly I didn't give AG any Xanax. But I'm not gonna lie and say mommy didn't have any!)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Disclaimer and Disney

I'd like to post a disclaimer about the post I wrote yesterday......Ally Grace is actually doing pretty well with this whole potty-training business, and there is a slight to very strong chance that I have a tendency to be just the tiniest bit dramatic.

Don't act like you're surprised.

In all fairness, at this point, any accidents she's having are pretty much our fault, as we seem to have something against staying at home.  As evidenced by the fact that we've been constantly on the go for the last week.   It hasn't been the best time in our lives to do a potty-training lock-in, so we're just trying to roll with it and do the best we can.

(In all seriousness though, if you have some wisdom, tips, or a free pony you would like to allow us to use as a potty-training bribe, I'd love to hear about it.)

In other news, we're taking Ally Grace to Disney World!  Also known as, Sherri's Idea of Torture, and Hey, Didn't I Vow NOT to Do This Until She Was Old Enough Drive Herself To Orlando?

John has to be in Orlando for work, so free hotel = great time to visit the happiest place on earth.

(Which is obviously the lululemon outlet, but I guess we'll try to hit the Magic Kingdom too.)

So far, we've made a few key errors in our planning:

Error #1:  It's June. Kids are OUT OF SCHOOL.  Where do you think all those kids are gonna want to go?

Probably not the lulu outlet.

Error #2:  Last week, I thought to myself, aw, wouldn't it be so cute to take AG to that princess tea party thing in Cinderella's castle?  Allow me to consult the Internet, because I'm sure I should get a reservation ahead of time.

Why yes, I should have.  SIX MONTHS AGO.

Now we're basically spending her college fund to go have tea with the Disney princesses at the Grand Floridian.

Because who needs a college degree, when you can have a commemorative picture with Cinderella instead?
(I'm totally kidding. No college funds were harmed during the scheduling of this trip. But it was close.)

Error #3:  We don't really have a plan.

Which is where you come in.  I need advice!  I'm feeling overwhelmed, and I would love any tips on fun things to do at Disney, or just in Orlando in general.  There will be several days where John has to work, so I'd love to take AG to do some fun mommy-daughter outings.

(Besides the lulu outlet, which is clearly our first stop.)

So, advice please.  What are the fun rides?  What are the rides that will make me want to poke my eyes out?  Are there any Disney "party fouls" that you made, and which you would nicely like to help us avoid?
Did any of the Disney characters freak your kids out? More importantly, did any of the Disney characters freak YOU out?

And finally, Error #4:  Do you know why all the books tell you to stay home when you're potty training?  Because of people like us, who think it's a good idea to take their semi-potty trained child to Disney.

In other words, crazy people.

I'm sure our fellow park-goers will appreciate us.