Retro Memories of Walt Disney World

Over the weekend, my family pulled out photos from my parents wedding and my brother’s Bar Mitzvah. It was fun looking at them and made me want to see more of the pictures from our numerous visits to Walt Disney World when growing up. I know there are magical memories of me wandering around the Contemporary pool in a diaper and going parasailing with my brother over Seven Seas Lagoon. Years ago, I found some random photos from our 1983 visit just after Epcot opened. This was my brother’s first time to Disney and the time I fell in love with Dreamfinder and Figment. Check out my brother’s River Country shirt – talk about retro! So many memories from that trip and many more that I hope to share one day soon. What is your favorite retro Disney memory?Retro moments from Walt Disney World

Focused on the Magic

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It's Me

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Eleven Years

Dear NHL,

Eleven years ago today, you decided that you wanted to surprise us by arriving a few weeks early. That moment you showed how you were going to lead us into a new and exciting world. Being your mother has been an amazing and loving journey. Of course, I have to admit that it has also been an adventure like no other. For some reason, nobody ever tells you that parenting comes with no instructions and you kind of make it up as you go along. I am blowing my cover now, but at eleven years old I need to confess. Here we go, I admit that being a perfect parent is impossible and I know I will no doubt mess up as we continue along.

First time mother

NHL, you are an amazing young boy. You constantly amaze me with how smart and in tune you are with parts of the world around you. Not only are you a math whiz, but you get principles of science, love learning about people, places, and things from history and crave academic knowledge to share with everyone. Even when things were tough this year with so many changes in the educational world, you did your best to work through it. You finished elementary school and are waiting to begin your middle school years. Please know that while it may be a big transition this year, it is one that everyone goes through and it will make you stronger. Each and every bump along this road will help you to become a better person, please remember that.

 11th Birthday Wishes

Always know that you can come to me and tell me anything and everything so I can help you. This year you did that after something big had happened and I listened. It took us a while to fix the problem, but we did it together thanks to you opening up to me and standing up for yourself. It was a proud moment and together we can make a difference by being advocates together.

While I could go on and on about items that you did over the last year, like I have done for the last eight years, I know you are more private now. I am giving you space to help me to figure out what to share in my blog. I respect that because it is not always mine to write about. Perhaps you would like to help and write your views one day instead.

On that note, I wish you only the best now and forever. You will always be my baby and I will be standing by your side cheering you on as you show everyone around you how you will spread your wings and fly high. Nothing can stop you if you stay focused, do your best, and believe in yourself.

Love,

Mom

Past B-day posts to NHL:

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Disney Style Celebrations

Spending time at a Disney park is magical, but celebrating something special is even more wonderful. TechyDad and I celebrated our honeymoon at Walt Disney World. Years later, our youngest son would turn two on our first big family vacation. Many additional memories took place in our favorite family destination. Who knows what we will celebrate next with Disney by our side. What has been your favorite Disney style celebration?

Disney Celebrations

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It's Me

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Movies and Sensory Concerns

TechyDad’s birthday was on Sunday and we were trying to figure out what to do for his special day. I asked if he wanted to see a movie. More specifically, I mentioned going to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I had heard that, while it was rated PG-13, it would probably be a nice option for our family. TechyDad searched online for a movie time and we went to the mall to get tickets and then have lunch.

My Guardians of the Galaxy

When we went to get our tickets at this Regal Cinema location, we realized that there was a snaffu with the online movie guide that TechyDad had viewed. We did not want to see a 3D version of the movie because JSL is not a fan. While we thought that it was a regular showing, it was not. That time was actually for a viewing of Guardians for the Galaxy in an RPX theater. We explained to the person at the ticket counter what happened and told her we would regroup and walked away.

Why did we leave?

There were a few reasons. The cost of the RPX was significantly more, but that was not the big issue in my mind. The sensory experience was something that concerned me. I did not want to ruin TechyDad’s birthday by starting the movie and leaving part way through. Did I know that it would bother NHL? No, I did not know how he would react. At the same time, I was aware that some movies have been too loud and bothered him though he has never had to leave before. Coping strategies have greatly improved as NHL has gotten older. Still, TechyDad and I were unsure about it and felt it was best to regroup.

As we stood off to the side looking online for options at other Regal Cinemas in the area, something happened that we never expected. Another person from Regal asked us to go back to the counter. The woman who had been helping us felt horrible that we left and wanted to make sure we saw the movie for TechyDad’s birthday. Jennifer was beyond amazing and made our day. As she was assisting us, I explained that it was not simply the increased cost of the movie. I told her that our son has Asperger’s and that the bigger screen and better sound system may be too much sensory overload for him. She assured me that IF it was a problem we could simply see someone in the theater and they would help us to see another movie, or we could get our money back. She asked if we would please give it a try and hopefully become fans of the RPX technology. We agreed and thanked her and I noted it on Twitter as well.

After lunch, we made our way to the RPX theater. It was beautiful. It really reminded me of a slight variation of an IMAX theater. We got seats on a side in case we needed to move. When the previews came on, I held my breath. NHL jumped back and immediately held his ears. I feared we would be leaving shortly.

Movies and Sensory Concerns

When the actual movie began, I watched NHL out of the corner of my eye. Slowly he eased back into his chair and his hands dropped down to his side. Yes, the actual movie sound was much less intense than the previews has been. I sat with a smile on my face and enjoyed the movie along with the boys and TechyDad. Thanks to a kind person at Regal Cinemas, our birthday celebration was not ruined by our mistake and NHL had another major milestone. He plowed through something that was overwhelming, but coped to reap the reward.

If you have children on the autism spectrum or with sensory concerns, how do they do at the movies? I would love to know if you have ever been to an RPX showing and if you noticed the sound variation with previews compared to the regular movie.

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Tuesday Tales: Calvin the Bookworm Birdie and Monsters

This summer, my youngest has been reading a lot of different books on his own. Clearly a major milestone for JSL. While I love his independence, it makes me sad at the same time. I miss curling up with my kiddo to read a special picture book together. When two new books arrived from Sterling Children’s Books to review, I asked JSL if I could read them to him before bed one night.

Calvin, Look Out! and Monster Party!

We took the books above and read them together like we used to do before diving into chapter books. It was a lot of fun celebrating at a party with a monster book from an author/illustrator that was new to us. JSL and I also adored visiting with our familiar birdie friend Calvin in his new tale.

Calvin, Look Out! – Written by Jennifer Berne – Illustrated by Keith Bendis – Sterling Children’s Books August 2014 – ISBN 9781454909101 – $14.95 – Ages 4-8

Inside Calvin, Look Out! by Jennifer Berne

Calvin the book loving bird is back in this latest book by Jennifer Berne. This time, Calvin starts to notice something just is not right with his vision. Why yes, the bookworm birdie shares his adventure as he gets his first pair of glasses. The clarity of the world changes at an instant and poor Calvin is teased because he is different than others. What happens when Calvin finds himself in trouble and needs to save the day? You will need to read the story and follow along with the beautiful illustrations from Keith Bendis that immerse us into Calvin’s world.

JSL really enjoyed this book and it gave us a great topic to talk about. We were able to discuss differences. Why it can be hurtful not to accept people the way they are. Oh and thanks to Calvin we talked about never giving up and the important of problem solving when it appears that you are in trouble. I highly recommend the latest book about Calvin and others if you have never read them before. I also pulled up my post from The Albany Children’s Book Festival where we met author Jennifer Berne to remind JSL because he had forgotten about that.

 

Monster Party – Written and illustrated by Annie Bach – Published by Sterling Children’s Books August 2014 – ISBN 97814549105 – $9.95 – Ages 2-5

Inside Monster Party! by Annie Bach

We are big monster fans in this house, thanks to the famous Disney monsters like Mike and Sulley. Monster Party is a sweet story about a monster getting invited to a party. Annie Bach’s simple words and whimsy artwork bring us along to see what the little monster does with his friends.

JSL liked the rhyme scheme and pictures in the book. It was a little juvenile for him, but he read along with me. I could see this book being used at Halloween time to act and make up a song with a preschool group. Lots of items that could be creatively incorporated with young children.

Are you a fan of Calvin the bookworm birdie or other monster books? Be sure to let me know if you have read about Calvin or any good monster tales recently. As always, Tuesday Tales is all about sharing our love of books. Please let me know what you have read recently. Link up to your book posts in the comments below. Include something you read on your own, with a child, or someone else.

It's Me

Disclosure: As noted above, I received both of these books from Sterling Children’s Books to review. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.

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