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The Year that was 2011

It is hard to believe that 2012 is here. Once again, the year went by with a lot of fun, photos, and memories. Here are just some of the highlights from the year that was 2011.


  • Mother Nature started her tricks with a lot of snow that came our way. We had fun making memories with the sled in our own yard.
  • I started writing Education posts at The Disney Driven Life and introduced it to everyone. Thank you to J.L. for the amazing opportunity. I look forward to getting back on track in 2012.
  • NHL lost three more teeth during the first three months of the year. Much relief as they came out without dental assistance.

Lots and Lots of Snow

February 2011:

  • The Snowpacalypse welcomed the month of February threatening 18-30 inches of snow. It left lots of the white stuff and tons of ice damage. Our neighbors probably had a laugh with knee-highs on our roof.
  • With all of the freezing cold, even the little guy was trying to ride Tony Pony to Disney World to escape. Of course, we were gearing up for Disney Social Media Moms Celebration 2011 in March.
  • We continued to take the boys to introduce them to hockey. They had a blast checking out all of the extras between the on ice action.

Greeting the Devil Dawg

March 2011:

  • Mother Nature teased us with warmth to melt snow mountains early in the month, only to knock us down with an ice storm to remember. Crackling trees and ice pelting the house is hard to listen to in the dark.
  • A magical trip to Walt Disney World for the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration allowed me to see amazing friends, learn, and have fun with my family. Lots of items from that trip were shared throughout the months ahead.
  • Of course, the reality world hit hard once we got back from our magical adventure. Tough decisions were ahead and left my head spinning. All of this made me remember the wise words of Rene SylerThe Good Enough Mother.

Magical Memories

April 2011:

  • Passover preparations were dominant this month. Making lists, shopping, and getting the house ready. Of course, we also captured memories of the holiday itself.
  • Lots of moments where I wished I was not the adult who had to make decision. Thank goodness, JSL helped to keep me smiling along the way.
  • A routine visit to the dentist for NHL revealed the need to see an orthodontist. We made the appointment for several months later in June, but knew the missing adult tooth was going to be something to contend with.

Views from Seder 2

May 2011:

  • Even moms need field trips. Yes, the weekend before Mother’s Day, Cutestkidever and I jumped into the car for a lunch date with Rene Syler.
  • JSL’s 4th birthday and new love for Jake and the Never Land Pirates required working on a theme for his party. Supplies were bought and cupcakes were made.
  • The sun coming back also provided an opportunity to test out our new grill, plant some veggies, and attempt to regrow our front lawn.

Cousins at play

June 2011:

  • After taking NHL out of a school he had been in since kindergarten, TechyDad and I watched as our second grader started to flourish in a new school. Once again, we started to believe in the education system. This entire drama made it SO hard to bite my tongue and keep a lot of things to myself.
  • Father’s Day we spent a fun day together. We had lunch out, went mini-golfing, and had dinner with Nana and Papa. It reminded me of how special these moments together are.
  • The end of June marked a major milestone for TechyDad and me. We celebrated out 10th wedding anniversary. Memories of our special day, honeymoon at Walt Disney World, and everything over the ten years together came flooding back. Of course, the day of our actual anniversary was a house nightmare. A plumbing fix resulted in us moving out for several days.

Reliving our honeymoon almost 10 years later

July 2011:

  • The month started with a visit out to see my brother and his family for 4th of July. While there, we went cherry picking and beat our previous record. A day at Niagara Falls was also included in the fun adventures.
  • Both of the boys were home with me for the entire summer. We looked for fun activities to do. We often ended up at the library for learning and crafting.
  • We also spent a lot of time at Michaels crafting our way around the world. Yes, Michaels and Crayola teamed up to make a great passport of crafts for kids to do that were mostly free. The kids learned so much and we found some great new crafts to try later on.


August 2011:

  • At the end of July, we started to think about a magical getaway to celebrate our 10th anniversary. Shortly after this, we booked a fantastic trip to relive our honeymoon at Walt Disney World. Everything was planned from the hotel, dining, and place for the kids to stay over Labor Day.
  • NHL turned 8 in August and requested lion cupcakes. We documented the construction process and birthday celebration.
  • The end of the month was heart breaking. We watched as Hurricane Irene wrecked havoc up and down the east coast. Thanks to the fear of the kids being stuck with no power and our flight getting canceled, we postponed our big trip to Disney. Being responsible adults was tough.

Lion Cupcakes

September 2011:

  • The boys started back to school after Labor Day. NHL loved his new school and was settling into third grade. JSL thrived at his familiar nursery school and we had lots of fun going apple picking with his class.
  • As a Type-A personality, I am a planner. So it was very rare for me to pack up in just a few days notice to head to New York City for the first ever SheStreams Conference. It was an amazing time seeing friends, learning, and getting away for a weekend. A huge thank you to all of those that made it a magical and empowering weekend.


October 2011:

  • As a third grader, NHL started to take band in school. He picked percussion instruments and drum practice even got a Disney touch thanks to Nana and Papa.
  • During the month of October, two large packages arrived to host parties. The boys loved learning and playing with LeapFrog items during the Learn, Create, and Share Party. The LeapPad had been an amazing addition to our family learning electronics. HexBugs also invaded our house for some glow-in-the-dark holiday fun.
  • Halloween was a lot of fun thanks to everyone staying healthy. NHL was Darth Vader, JSL was Jedi Tigger, and even TechyDad dressed up. Of course, Snowtober threatened to make things more interesting just a day before heading out.

Halloween 2011

November 2011:

  • The start of the month meant going to a fun event for bloggers at Price Chopper, headquarters. The Price Chopper Holiday Cheer afternoon showcased endless holiday entertaining ideas. Of course, I wanted to highlight the Decadent Desserts line.
  • This was also the month that my entire family fell in love with Susan Egan. I had been lucky enough to see Susan at Disney Social Media Moms in March, but her new CD review was a hit in our house. My little guy even had a crush on her and certainly did care more than Nina.
  • The boys learned about what an aufruf is and spent a lot of time with family in November during Thanksgiving weekend.

Silly Turkeys

December 2011:


There were so many other things that made 2011 special and amazing. Thank goodness that is what archives are for. We can look back, laugh, cry, remember, and reflect.

What are some of your favorite part of the year that was 2011?

It's Me

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Favorite Child Syndrome

Let me begin by saying that this post is inspired by Rene Syler, head GEM or Good Enough Mother. I was lucky enough to meet Rene in March at Disney. In May, I had lunch with her and then saw her earlier this month at SheStreams. The woman tells it like it is and is not afraid to admit that she is not perfect. The reality is that Rene has helped countless other parents, including myself, to accept that being good enough is perfectly acceptable. Rene also reminds us to take care of ourselves so we can be the best we can for our children.

Monday night, Rene mentioned that she was going to be on a segment of Tuesday’s Anderson. The topic of the show Are Parents Playing Favorites?  Rene also let all of her GEM fans know about it Tuesday morning. I set the DVR, but happened to be able to catch it and sat there with my mouth on the ground. Here is the show preview from Anderson’s website.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Leading up to the segment with Rene were two parents telling the world that they admit they have a favorite child. Then, we saw video of one mother discussing it with her six children. WHAT?! No really, I could not make this up. Next, Rene came onto the panel:

Rene on Anderson

The one mother stated that she didn’t think that this was going to cause any issues for her children. In the back of my mind, I could see the future therapy bills racking up. As you can see in the clip above, Rene did NOT agree. She kept bringing up the point that we birth our kids and our role should not be to have favorites. The other mother on the panel stated that she had a favorite parent and kids often do. Once again, Rene noted that it is one thing for a child to say this about a parent, but completely different for an adult to say to their child. Amen Rene!

Views of the show

The odd part of this show is the timing. Driving home from school the other day, my eight year old son asked me a question. He wanted to know if I had a favorite child. I told him no I did not. Of course, then I wanted to know why he was asking this. He said he was just wondering and had asked TechyDad the same thing the day before. I told NHL that both of them were my favorite boys. I love both of them with all of my heart, and that even when they may not make the right choices, or do something that makes me upset, it does not mean that they are not a favorite or that I love them less.

I have to say that my parents did an amazing job. My brother and I often joke that one or the other is the favorite child, but neither of us is really serious. I think they knew the importance of this for our growth into the people that we would become. Thank you Mom and Dad!

TechyDad and I always tell the boys that they are our favorite 8 and 4 year olds. The reality is that at any given moment my attention may be with one child over the other, but it is not because of favoritism. Parenting is a balancing act and each day we try to make it work. I am a parent and spread myself to the kiddo that needs it at that moment. Is it perfect? Nope, but that’s the beauty of parenting. We learn from our mistakes and our kids become better humans because of it.

So, what do you think about this subject? Should parents have a favorite child?

It's Me

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Video Cameras 1980’s Style to Now

I am a child of the 80’s, although I was born in the 70’s. I remember the birth of cassette tapes – although I still recall using the 8 track player that my father had to listen to the Muppets Show soundtrack.

Child and chair of the 70's with little brother in 80's

My aunt and uncle had a VCR before we did. I would go over there and spend hours watching a tape they made especially for me of Barry Manillow in concert. You see, I would blush because he was singing just for me. We eventually got our own VCR (it was huge and heavy) and life definitely changed in our house. Thank goodness I grew out of my Barry Manillow video thing, and matured into his cassettes and ditched him for Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul Simon, and even the voiced behind Milli-Vanilli when CDs came onto the scene.

We eventually got our first family video camera. This bad boy was huge and I remember my father lugging it to school for my elementary school lip sync show. Not sure if my mother ever used it or not. I do not think so since it had to be balanced on the shoulder and weighed so much. Oh, did I mention there was also a separate bag that held the machine that was recording the video? This dinosaur should have been in a museum. This is a photo of my father with that camera (I think). You can see the cords running from the camera to the bag on his other shoulder.

Whale Watching - Old Video Camera

Fast forward to March 2011 when TechyDad and I decided to buy our own video camera. We had been given a hand-me-down from my aunt and uncle, but digital cameras were not the norm. We were going to Disney World and wanted to be able to have something to capture those memories that we had missed over the years, or were on the video option on our point and shoot cameras. Oh and I was already looking at vlogging and video review options for my blog. We asked around and decided against the Flip and went with the Kodak.

2011 Video Camera

I am in love with this little camera. She has gone with us to Disney Social Media Moms Celebration where I captured one of my first videos of Susan Egan and Georgia Stitt performing. We also caught the boys running up to Tigger and Pooh, meeting with the Princesses, opening their first Vinylmations, and more magical moments.

My handy dandy camera has also been tossed into my purse for blogging adventures, conferences, and school functions. Since she is so easy to use, I also have learned to love using her for recording fun messages on my blog and of course to review items. Another perk, she is small and light enough for the kids to use – should we want to let them take a try at making a video down the road.

Thanks to my recent experience at SheStreams, I plan on using her a lot more. Hmmm…. perhaps I should name her. So I am asking all of you for some assistance. What should I call my amazing little camera? She has many more adventures ahead and we have so many things to accomplish now that my goals have been reset and revamped. So please let me know your thoughts and please keep it rated PG. I refuse to talk like a hockey player about a cute little camera.

It's Me

P.S. Don’t forget to enter my three current giveaways (1) Real Steel prize pack, (2) Star Wars Cereal and $25 gift card pack, and (3) Three copies of the book The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes.

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Disney Store Dreaming

Dear NHL & JSL,

Once upon a time, in a galaxy within our reach – there was a Disney Store at our local mall. Actually, before the two of you were born, we had two of them. Then they closed one to centralize everything. Just around the time JSL was born, the remaining one closed its doors for the last time. It was a place that we often went to. We were able to be with Disney and have a fun time. Now, the closest store is several hours away.

A week ago, Shannan and I went to to the Disney Store in NYC on one of our breaks during the SheStreams Conference. To say that I was in heaven would be an understatement.

Disney Store Heaven in NYC

There was so much to look at in every corner of the two levels of the store. The Phineas and Ferb area immediately got me to check everything out. I now wish I had bought you both something. Some Phineas and Ferb merchandise

There were endless amounts of the Disney Princess items. Those areas of the store were gorgeous, but my attention went to places like the gigantic Toy Story section. So many possibilities that my head was just spinning. Lots of Toy Story options

I joked to Shannan that the two of you would not have known where to go next. I think the Marvel area would have kept you there for a while. Lots of Spiderman, Ironman, Captain America, Hulk, and friends. I will say, I am sad that I didn’t get you each one of these:

Marvel friends

Back on the first floor, I found what I was looking for. There was a giant display of Vinylmations. I knew this was what I was going to bring both of you and Daddy. I bought each of you a Lion King box to open at home. Then, I saw the NYC Cab series that are only available in this store. I picked one of those tins for Daddy. Then, for the heck of it, I grabbed a Muppet Series 2 box.

 Wall of Vinylmations

Oh, I also stopped myself from picking up one of these for each of you:’

 Liberty Minnie

The reason I stopped, I want to head to NYC on a train with all of you for a fun day that includes a stop at the Disney Store.

When I got home and started to unpack, I had the bag from the Disney Store ready to go. The two of you were thrilled with the new Lion King packages. I do not think you were aware that they existed. Daddy was very happy with the two he got as well.

OIpening their Vinylmations

So now we just have to figure out a time to take the train to the city for a fun day together. There are a ton of places that we HAVE to go to and the Disney Store is just the first on a long list. Now if only we would get our Disney Store back here.




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