And so it begins...
Well, here I am. Starting a new blog. This decision came very quick and totally out of the blue for me. I'm still kind of wrapping my brain around it even as I get it going. I have always enjoyed writing up our family's little adventures (and mis-adventures) on social media to share with our family and friends. Say what you will about social media, but for someone like me whose friends and family have all moved far away, it's a great way to stay connected. Whenever I'd write up these adventures my nearest and dearest would usually comment that I should write a book. My mom and husband are always telling me to write a book so whenever someone else would post that same sentiment, they'd start the nagging. Oh, the nagging. Write a book? That seems so daunting. I mean, I've lived quite an unusual and full life for your average thirty-something year old, but I don't feel like I have an ending to this hypothetical book. And why would someone want to read my book? Now mind you, everyone saying this to me are my family and friends. Not to mention, isn't that something you just say when you don't know what to say but you want to say something more than "I enjoyed that"? "You should write a book." I mean, I never really took those comments too much to heart. In fact, in years past I had a travel blog that really never took off (pun not intended). Yeah, some of my family and fiends read it, but not really any strangers. It doesn't help that my personality is not the type to self-promote. I just feel very narcissistic to advertise my blog to people, especially strangers. I'm very logical so for me the thought of advertising my own blog in any way is like saying, "Hey you over there! Complete stranger! Yeah, you! I think I'm pretty awesome so I feel you should take precious moments out of your day to read about just how cool I think I am..." Doesn't that sound weird or is it just me? So any time these lovely people in my life said these things it kinda just died right there, only to be taken seriously by my mother and husband. #groupies So why do I suddenly have this fresh new blog? It all started with my husband's job sending us to Orlando for 6 weeks. If you are reading this and you already know this story, which should be all of you (I'm looking at you fellow Disney Foodies), then I'm sorry you're hearing this for the 23rd time. Actually, part of the reason I have this blog is because my husband convinced me to do it, if anything, as a diary of family memories for our kids and if anyone else happens to read it then great, so with that said, this could be very repetitive at times. Sorry. Anyway. My husband, Matt, was sent to Orlando to work for what was supposed to be four weeks. They were flying him and one of his employees down to help the Orlando branch with a job that they were having a lot of trouble with. If you're familiar with KPMG, he was working at their new, massive training facility in Lake Nona. My husband's position offers him a work vehicle that includes all gas. So we quickly realized if he chose to drive his work car down, rather than fly and have them provide him a rental car, the kids and I could join him for free. Being that I am a stay-at-home mom who was just about to start our homeschooling adventure with our oldest, I can basically drop everything and go at a moment's notice and that's exactly what I did.
With literally three days notice I closed up the house, figured out logistics for our poodle, LoDuca, and packed for our family of four...and a dog. Thankfully, my parents own a retirement home in Ocala, Fl and they happened to be flying there the very next morning after we had found out we were leaving. So we called the airline and got LoDuca onto their flight with my parent's dog, his brother, Mookie. (Are we seeing a pattern here? Our dogs bleed orange and blue. Let's go Mets!) We were so thankful to not have to drive two days down to Florida with our dog, LoDuca. We love him, but he's a bit much. Not to mention how terrified I was to be cooped up in the car with my kids (er...daughter! My son's a saint.) for the two day drive down. My daughter is quite "lively" and suffers from carsickness. Thankfully, she's finally at an age where she can at least warn us of impending doom so that we can catch said "impending doom" in her bucket. So adding a hyper dog with serious separation anxiety to our Ford Fusion sedan along with all of our stuff and the kids was really not an option. The timing was perfect! My parents took the dog and then we had two days left to get ready to leave.
I don't know how, but we did it. Literally, in the days before we found out we were going, I had thrown Matt a huge surprise 40th birthday party. (Yes, I married an old man. I'm nowhere near forty, thank you very much.) I was also in the middle of a big job of repainting our entire downstairs. You literally couldn't walk in our entire downstairs and by the time we left for Florida, I somehow managed to at least re-stage our home so it LOOKED put back together. You know, 'cause my house needed to look pristine for all the company I'd be having while I was 1,140 miles away. *eye roll* We got everything done and my husband's boss let us leave even earlier than planned. The drive was actually very successful. We did it in two days. Both days we were able to drive six hours before stopping and then only had another two hours before either our hotel stop or arriving at my parents' home. The drive home was equally successful, though I think we scarred our kids for life. Now every time I tell them about any plans they ask how long the drive is.
The first week the kids and I stayed up north in Ocala, Fl with my parents where my husband's mom and step-father also live. My brother and his family had happened to plan their vacation to my parents' Florida home that very week so we had a full house! Six adults, one seven year old, two four year olds, a three year old, and two poodles. It was a blast. My husband headed down to Lake Nona during that workweek and only enjoyed the weekend with us. Once my family had flown back home to NY and my in-laws had their fill of my kids we headed down to stay with Matt at his hotel. We were able to book a one-bedroom with kitchen at the Residence Inn in Lake Nona through his company so that really helped! Having a kitchen and a living room to separate the kids from us was great. We joined Matt at his hotel not because we missed him or anything, but solely to enjoy every second we could of Disney World. Not even kidding. Sorry, honey. We have annual passes from our previous visit in January and our upcoming trip in December. We are Disney Vacation Club Members and because of that we get discounted annual passes so we try to plan a trip every eleven months or so so that we can get the most out of one annual pass. So when you factor in the free transportation to Orlando, the free hotel, and the already paid for annual passes, we basically got a free Disney vacation for, we thought, four weeks but it turns out when it was all said and done his job kept us there for six weeks.
So why did this little journey cause me to start this blog? My love for food and sharing it on social media. Now my family and friends are going to witness just how nuts I am about Disney and food. I've tried to keep it quiet but there that goes. I will try to make this next part sound as completely normal as possible. Should be interesting. On social media I am a part of a fan page of over 90,000 fellow Disney nuts. This specific page is dedicated solely to the food offerings at all of the Disney properties. You basically go to Disney, take pictures of your food and then share it on this page. You can also ask for restaurant advice and post any other questions or comments you have specifically pertaining to food at Disney. Since I have tried and failed to keep my travel blog (www.serenitynowtravelblog.com) alive after being blessed with my two little sanity thieves, I always got my blogging fix on this fan page whenever I visited a Disney property. I had just posted about my time in Disneyland Paris this past May, my posts got a lot of attention, but I didn't have a catchy tag line of "six weeks of Disney" to get so many people's attention like this time, I guess. Well, this trip I had a lot of pictures to share and a lot of time to do it, so I posted these entries as mini blogs. At first I was getting about one hundred or so reactions and some comments. After a few posts, however, they were picking up steam. The last I saw, one of my posts is at over 1.3K reactions and over 100 comments. I was pretty shocked. By the end of the month of September I was voted, Disney Foodie of the Month, and offered a job. Seriously! This attention was very bitter sweet, though. You see, everything in Matt & I's life together is a competition. He's from New Jersey, I'm from New York so naturally I always inform him that he is from the lesser state, to which he throws a fit and tries to defend poor Jersey's honor. Yeah, good luck with that. Now, before you go feeling sorry for Matt, this next one will make you feel for me. He's a Yankee fan and well, I'm a Met fan. Need I say more? I may be from the superior state, but his team may just have mine beat with their twenty-seven rings to our two rings. Although, I may be partial but I much prefer to keep company with Met fans than Yankees fans. The competitiveness in our home went nuclear once our kids came along. We seriously don't know how to raise them since I never want to see my children in Yankee paraphernalia and he looks at raising kids to be Met fans as a form of child abuse. (I mean, not for nothing, but he may not be too far off on that one. *sigh*) So as you can see Matt and I are quite competitive and we both like to be right. Well, you remember that one post alone that had over one hundred comments? Guess what nine-five percent of those comments said. AND. I. QUOTE. "Do you have a blog? If not you should!" or "...you're a great writer!" or the humdinger of them all, "You should write a book." *facepalm* These comments were written over and over again on the twenty-plus posts I put out on social media during the six weeks we were away. That's right, now complete strangers were joining the list of people telling me that I should start writing. So thank you very much complete strangers. You now have my husband thinking he was right and I was wr...wro...nope. Not gonna say it.
So that brings me to where I am today. Starting this blog about well, us. Sometimes I question where my life is at and what I am supposed to be doing and now I sit here and laugh. How many people did God have to get to tell me to start writing before I finally realized, 'Hey, maybe I should start writing'. So here I am. I'm not putting any type of demographic on this thing. It's not a travel blog, it's not a homeschool blog, it's not a mommy blog, it's not a disgruntled Met fan blog. It's a blog about nothing...which is everything. Thank you, Seinfeld, for perfectly wording exactly how I feel about so many things. So like the show, Seinfeld- "a show about nothing", this will be my blog about nothing. A blog that will contain whatever is going on in my life and my family's lives at any given moment. Some posts will be about our funny adventures, some will be about homeschooling, a lot will be about travel and Disney, but all of them will most definitely include Matt mockery. He just makes it so easy. Not to mention, he's not a part of my life, he is my life.