Home, Sweet Home … For Now

We bought our RV and SUV a few days before little-dude joined our family. We decided to take a small break from moving to adjust to being a family of four and allow me time to heal from child birth. 

Two weeks ago, we talked with our Realtor and are getting the house ready to sell. Which means we need a place to put the RV. After some research we found a cute place close to the house so we could be nearby while we sell the house and move into the RV. 

The actual trip to the RV resort was nerve racking for me – this made it real. Everything’s been abstract for months but actually seeing the resort made it real. And I have to admit, I’m still nervous. This is such a drastic change from what I’m used to. 

However, I’m also kinda excited – the resort is walking distance to parks, restaurants, and much more. Now we will have the opportunity to get out more as a family. 

It took some time to get the RV here as the place we bought it from kept “losing” our moving information. Thankfully, we managed to get the RV to it’s new home a few days ago.

We now have about half our stuff in the RV and spent our first official night. So far, so good. We still have some work to do, but it’s getting there.

Beep Beep, Beep Beep

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Once we got our camper, we needed a way to transport it. This was much harder than I anticipated. I assumed that the trailer would be harder, since there were so many options, layouts, sizes, and colors – but I was wrong. First, Damon and I needed to agree on what type of car:

  • Easy to drive: I didn’t want a car so big that I couldn’t drive it. I am used to full-sized vans and didn’t want to go bigger than that.
  • Comfort: We love our current mini-van. It has leather seats, lots of room and LOTS of cup holders (Damon loves his beverages. Our current mini-van has six cup holders in the front and five of them are usually taken up by Damon’s beverages).
  • Towing Capacity: I wanted something powerful. I didn’t want a car that would barely pull the trailer and could possibly leave us stranded somewhere because it broke down
  • Space: In addition to our human family, we are bringing with us our two cats and we need a space to put them while we are on the road.

Seems simple, right? Unfortunately, not. The towing capacity became our biggest issue. This instantly eliminated the standard car, mini-van, and SUV – which are the cars I am used to driving. This pretty much left us with full-sized trucks and some suburbans:

  • Trucks
    • Pro
      • Availability: Being in Florida, trucks of all shapes, sizes, and power are easy to find.
      • Towing Capacity: Trucks are made to haul stuff, so most trucks can handle pulling campers.
    • Con
      • Size: We are a family of four, with two young kids. Many cabins support this, but don’t have much leg room or capacity to store extra toys or snacks.
      • Storage: They have large truck beds but your stuff can’t be accessed while your driving. Plus, we would need to get a cover if we wanted to protect our stuff from the elements.
      • Unfamiliar: I haven’t been in a truck since I was eight (despite living in Florida for twenty years). This just isn’t a vehicle we are familiar with.
      • Budget: Trucks don’t lose a lot of value overtime, so to get one powerful enough in our budget required something with high mileage. This made me nervous since most trucks start to have major issues as they get more mileage on them
  • Suburbans
    • Pro
      • Familiar: Suburbans are very similar to vans and mini-van’s, which we are used to driving.
      • Size: Tons of internal room. Plenty of space for the kids, toys, snacks, and whatever else we need. Plus we can fit the cats inside of the car.
      • Storage: The storage is large and flexible – we can move seats around to accommodate whatever we need.
    • Con
      • Availability: There are only a few suburbans on the market that meet our criteria. In our short time researching, we have only found two that we like. People like these cars so much, that they rarely come on the used car market.
      • Towing Capacity: While there are just a few suburbans on the market, there are even fewer that have the towing capacity we need (and we soon learned that most car dealers don’t know that there is a difference).

So as you can see, the suburban makes more sense for our needs but trucks are much easier to find. I assumed that we would end up with a truck, since it would work and we could find one. Luckily, Damon kept his eyes open for a suburban and we hit the jackpot!

Damon was searching Craigslist and found a suburban that was 45 minutes away. This car had everything we wanted – good mileage, well cared for (the interiors looks brand new), powerful towing capacity (that was specially made for the original owner), easy to drive, a great size, and a great price. Needless to say, we jumped at this car.

Of course, being such a great catch, there were other people interested. Fortunately for us, we had two things going in our favor – location and cash! The first person who wanted the car lived in Georgia and was trying to figure out how to get the car. The second person lived nearby, but needed to go to the bank to arrange financing. Sometimes, the stars align and everything just goes in your favor.

So meet our new car:

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Next step is introducing our car to our trailer. Fingers crossed that the meeting goes well :p

The Great Movie Ride

A few weeks ago, the Walt Disney Company announced the closure of a beloved attraction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – The Great Movie Ride. While I understand the need to retire the attraction, I am saddened as it holds a special place in my heart.

In October of 2004, I’d been working at ‘The Great Movie Ride’ for a few weeks when I met a new person in the break room – Damon. He’d just transfer from ‘The Tower of Tower’ and was finishing his training for the ride. I remember this meeting because of how we clicked. I’d never felt an instant connection with anyone before. From then on, I constantly looked for him in the break room. Unfortunately, he kept getting assigned to ‘The Tower of Tower’, so I never saw him. 

Then in June 2005, we were both selected for be character trained for the ride (which means doing the gangster/bandit scenes). At this point, we were seeing more of each other each weekend and definitely had a crush on each other.

During training, Damon tried to help the trainer by grabbing a box of pens for our class. The next thing we know, Damon tripped and pens went flying across the room. He turned beet red and I thought he was the cutest thing ever!

After work, Damon invited me to his house to watch a movie. I don’t remember much about the movie. What I do remember is how comfortable I felt with him. While we were talking, he asked if I’d like to go out with him sometime. I said that sounded like fun (girl code for yes). Unfortunately, Damon didn’t speak girl code and asked me again. I explained that my answer ment yes and thus began our journey of being honest with each other.

So, as you can imagine, ‘The Great Movie Ride’ means a great deal to us. Which is why I was thrilled to get to go back one more time. Last night, the Disney Parks Blog hosted a meet-up at the ride and allowed us to walk the track! Not only did I get to relive some very fond memories but I got to take all the pictures I’d neglected to take while I worked there (lesson learnes + always take pictures).

What a wonderful way to close such a meaningful chapter of my life. I only hope it’s replacement will live up to ‘The Great Movie Ride’

Taking our Furbabies on the Road

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These poor cats. We adopted Kizzy and Cloud in 2008 while we were living at our townhouse in Orlando. And over the past ten years, these cats have lived in a lot of different places:

  • 2009 (October): We drove them cross country for three days to move to California.
  • 2010 (April): About six months later, in early we drove them back to Orlando, and into my in-laws house in Celebration, Florida.
  • 2010 (October): After many months of house hunting, we then moved them to our new house in Orlando.
  • 2013 (February): After a few years of downtime, we moved them to an apartment near SeaWorld
  • 2014 (January): We moved them back to our townhouse in Orlando.
Tired Cloud

I think this pretty much sums up how he feels about car rides

Is that it? unfortunately not.

  • 2015 (September): We flew them out to California!
  • 2016 (September): We fly them back to the townhouse in Orlando

And now we are asking them to live with us on an RV and travel the country to who knows how long. I think I better stock-up on kitty treats.

Monday Motivation: Six Years of Marriage

Six years ago, my best friend and I made it official. However, I felt married to him long before our wedding day. For me, our wedding day was just making our relationship legally binding. 

Damon and I had met five years prior, at Disney right after a hurricane hit. We were friends immediately. 

Soon after we were selected for a special training class. During this class Damon got up to get some pens for the class. He tripped, and the pens went flying. He turned beet red and I thought he was the cutest thing ever. He asked me out later that afternoon. 

I knew he was special immediately. However, there was a point where I wondered if he was too old for me. Fortunately, some part of my brain yelled at me, telling me it was dumb to stop seeing someone fantastic just because of age.

Soon after that, we traveled to Disneyland together and I knew this guy was special. I wasn’t 100% positive that I would marry him but I knew that he would be an important person in my life. 

So as you can imagine, by the time our wedding day rolled around it was just another day of adventure with Damon. We were already an awesome partnership, which continues to this day. 

I love our life and adventures together. It hasn’t been easy but nothing valuable in life is every easy. And I can’t wait to see what this road ahead has in store for us.

California Adventure: The Queen Mary

Over the holidays we won tickets to see the Christmas version of the Queen Mary. 

The area consisted to rides, mazes, an indoor snow tube ride, an ice exhibit themed to ‘A Christmas Carole’, and a tour of the Queen Mary.

First off, I am so Glad we went after Christmas as there were hardly any people there.

We started in the ice exhibit – beautfully themed to ‘A Christmas Carole’. The detail was exquisite. Mini-man was fascinated the whole time.

Next, we decided to go outside to warm up. We took mini-man through a maze and he had a blast! (especially in the ball pit).

Damon really wanted to try the snow tuning so we headed back inside of the ice tent. I skipped since mini-man was attached to me at the time and I felt I couldn’t leave him.

Mini-man was too small for any of the rides, so we headed over to tour the Queen Mary. I kid you not, I felt like I was on the Titanic. There should have been Lord’s and Ladies walking around the deck. I loved getting to go back in time on the gorgeous ship. 

I also learned that several scenes rom the first Love Boat were shot on board (eek!). And, as it turned it, this was the same port where the Love Boat docked and shot their in port scenes (double eek!)

The sun was setting and mini-man was tired so we decided to head home. I’m glad we got to experience this fun exhibit and ship.

California Adventure: Irving Park Railroad 

Last December was our first jolly holiday season with Mini-man and I wanted to take him to some fun holiday events.

Thanks to local mommy blogs, I was introduced to the Irving Park Railroad, which was hosting a Santas Village and Christmas Train.

We went early in the day – 1. to avoid crowds and 2. To not keep mini-man up too late. 

First we rode the train to the North Pole. We decided to skip meeting Santa – mini-man isn’t a fan of people in costumes and he freaks out (and I refuse to force him to do things that scare him). So we got back on the train and headed back to the village. The train ride was cute but mini-man wasn’t quite sure what to make of the whole experience.

Mini-man was too young to enjoy any of the games that were there but he had fun exploring the maze and just walking around.

After a while, we decided to explore the rest of the park. What we found was a beautiful park that’s perfect for families. I wish we could have gone more (it’s 90 minutes from where we are and that’s too long to keep mini-man in his car seat). 

California Adventure: San Diego

I was born in San Diego (die-hard Charger and Padres girl right here), so I made it a priority to visit while we were in California.

We managed to get two visits in. On our first visit we took a train down to San Diego. 

We had fun visiting the World Famous San Diego Zoo and SeaWorld San Diego.

Our second visit was a stop in one of our cruises and I set up a sailing excursion along the bay. It was a beautiful day to see the city and very relaxing.

However, fours hours on a sail boat is a bit resticrive for a one-year old. Fortunately, we found an amazing playground really close to our ship. Mini-man had a blast swinging, running around, and getting wet. 

San Diego is such a beautiful place. I am so glad that I got to share it with my family.