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The Real Moms of Pinterest Revolution #RMOP

Oh Pinterest. I love you so. The beautiful photos you post inspire me to bake beautiful cakes, dehydrate orchards of apples, redesign my home every season, and dress my children in perfect matching clothes at all times.

NOT.

What you really make me do is feel like a massive failure. And a little snarky. WHO has time for this stuff? Really? I am a working, homeschooling, traveling mom that has no time to color spaghetti (which actually doesn’t work unless you use professional dye that they never tell you about).

So when I saw this photo from SnarkECards on Facebook this morning I wanted to jump up and down on my couch shouting YES! THAT!

real moms of pinterest

 

And apparently I am not the only one. Holy FB reactions Batman. Apparently a lot of moms feel this way. So I started my own pinterest board…The Real Moms of Pinterest .

Real Moms of Pinterest Board

 

Right now it just has one lonely pin. But couldn’t this be awesome? Real pics of real lunches. Like the carton of ice cream you gave them, not the themed bento box. What your kitchen really looks like, not the Martha Stewart version. Who’s with me? Anyone brave enough to post what the Real Moms of Pinterest actually live like? I will. Here is my first one.

rmop cupcake collage

You may or may not remember that cupcake disaster from a few years ago. Plus I will throw in some pins I find that I think would be in a Real Moms house. Like the Yoda above. Don’t lie. You would totally do that for your Stars Wars obsessed kid. And you would even pretend its because you loved them so much. Instead of the truth-you can’t find that damned Angel you wrapped so carefully last year.

Who wants to join me on the Real Moms revolution? Leave your Pinterest ID here and I will add you to the board. I want to see pictures of dirty faces, mismatched outfits, bunny slippers in the carpool lane, frozen pizza’s for dinner. C’mon? Help me out of my mom guilt….

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Jet-setter Update

After just returning from Texas, I am setting off for a weekend in Detroit. While both trips have very different goals-Texas was for Carter’s health and Detroit is for work, they have one thing in common-I am pulling my hair out trying to stay organized in the air, on the road and inside my suitcase. Which is good news for you. I have picked up a few more tips and tricks that may help make your upcoming holiday travel a little bit easier. While I am not really jet-setting, I do feel like I am hitting the road hard lately and from how sick I keep getting, it is hitting back.

lg g2My Phone

Holy Moly y’all (my new Texas word) I did it. I cut the iCord. Verizon sent me the new LG G2 and I fell in love. Of course the love may have been helped by my new loathe of iOS 7. I’m sorry, but ever since Steve Jobs has passed Apple just cannot stay competitive in my mind. Where they were once an innovator, nowadays it seems like all they are doing is playing catch up to the Android market. The G2 uses Snapdragon technology (don’t worry, its just a fancy word for fast) to make everything load so much faster and multitask between all my social networking. Google Talk makes Siri sound like my Mother (whoops).

I plan to fully test it this weekend, not going to lie, I am a little scared to not travel with the trusty iPhone. I just think this will be so much better in the long run. Do you have tips for me on using an Android? Apps I have to have? PLEASE tell me in the comments. To be fair, I will trade you some traveling with jewelry tips that may save you a major heartbreak….

Getting Smarter With My Jewelry

I’ve been working with Jewelers Mutual lately on a campaign for their Perfect Circle  here in Denver to teach people about tips and tricks for traveling with jewelry. I have always traveled with a few sentimental peiecs but avoid taking anything expensive. In fact, I have costume jewelry that I just have set aside for trips that go with everything. With the following tips I may start carrying my better pieces with me. Here are some things I have learned.

  • Choose wisely. Pack light and take only the jewelry you’ll wear while traveling and at your destination. The 4-carat diamond ring you save for special occasions? Probably not. The pearls that go with everything? Definitely.

  • Make a list. List all the jewelry you’ll take with you. Make two copies. Take one copy with you and store it separately from your jewelry. Leave the other copy at home. Also helpful: take pictures or a video of your jewelry.

  • Carry it on. Never put jewelry in checked baggage. Instead, wear it or stow it in your carry on bag. If you wear it, take extra care by slipping a pendant inside a sweater or turning your ring so only the band shows.

  • Keep it with you. Put your jewelry in a favorite bag you’ll carry while traveling. Don’t leave your jewelry in an unattended car or suitcase. When checking into your hotel or condo, don’t hand your jewelry bag to hotel staff. Carry it personally.

  • Use the safe. Always store jewelry in the in-room safe when you’re not wearing it.

 So, two ways I am getting smarter. What about you? What are you doing to make travel easier on yourself this holiday season? Any tips on keeping my immune system stronger on the road too? 

I will update on Carter shortly. I just want to get a few more pictures. You guys will not believe the difference the SPML surgery made on his leg.

 

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Stepping Up the Spook Factor

Halloween is always a to-do at our house. Since moving to Colorado Carter has not been able to trick-or-treat. Too many stairs and inaccessible hills to peoples houses. Instead we stay in, buy full size candy bars for ourselves and scare the pants off the neighborhood children. We have fog machines, creepy decorations, spooky music, sound system on a mic that Carter yells things through and cameras to catch all the action.

These are some of the things that are staples:

creepy halloween decorations collage

I have a plethora of hanging skeletons that are all named after former evil children I have known. Seriously. I could tell you their names but I am not that mean. The problem with the skeltons is that they are all trained to howl, moan and talk at the slightest bit of motion. It gets pretty annoying hearing them talk all night (much like their live namesakes were) and honestly, if it snows the switch is pretty darn cold and inconvenient to get to. This year I have them on a WeMo switch so that I can turn them on and off from my phone. It will be awesome to be able to do this even when we aren’t home.

In past years, we have used a camera to tell when kids are getting close to the house. Then Carter would turn on the mic inside which was hooked up to hidden speaker. There have been two problems with this, as it got darker they were harder and harder to see and we have never been able to hide the mic wire right. This year we are going to use a  HD Night Vision NetCam operated over wi-fi like the wemo switch that we are rigging to this giant spider that hangs right at the end of the garage

giant hanging spider halloween decorationWhen it isn’t Scare the Neighborhood Kids Silly Day  Halloween we use this camera on the porch and it works so much better at night. You can even set it to alert you when there is movement. We are also looking into a wireless speaker/mic situation that can also play a Halloween soundtrack over it. I haven’t found one at the right price yet.

Carter has a blast yelling at the kids to stay off his property or else and for those who dare to get close enough, they have Connor to deal with in the scary clown costume on the porch before they can get their candy. With the camera Carter can make comments about their costumes which really freaks them out. We believe in making kids work for their treats around here.

*I want to thank Verizon Wireless for spooking up our Halloween this year by providing us with the WeMo switch and the Belkin NetCam camera. I love being a part of the #vzwbuzz team because we are always first to check out the newest awesome item out there that makes life more enjoyable. When the WeMo switch is not in use as a Halloween prop we have a lamp plugged into it in the house and as I said above the camera is awesome on the front porch at telling me when I should and should not answer the door.

 

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The New Disability Plan at Disney Parks

People keep asking me what I think of the new changes to the guest assistance card at the Disney Parks. I first reported about it when the new disability access pass was just a rumor for Traveling Mom and watched as the uproar among the special needs community commenced. It’s been ugly. People are upset about these new changes. I just don’t happen to be one of them.

disney epcot family poseI guess people consider me a leader in the spina bifida world or disability travel world and maybe that is why I keep getting asked why I am not up in arms over it. Mostly it is because I was one of the people who asked for change. Remember our trip last Spring when Disney World hosted us for a week? And all I saw was abuse after abuse of the wheelchair system? Yeah. That. That is why I am not upset.

Look. Disney has to do something. I don’t know that I think this new plan has it right. But I don’t know that any plan will have it exactly right at this point. This is what they have told us the new plan will look like:

Frequently Asked Questions About the Changes to Disney’s Guest Assistance Pass

How will the new Disney program work?

The Disability Access Service Card will offer Guests a return time for an attraction based on the current wait time. Guest Assistance Cards will continue to be in effect until Oct. 9. We look forward to sharing more information as we get closer to implementation.

Did Disney receive assistance in developing the Disability Access Service Card?

Yes, Disney is engaging disability groups, and Autism Speaks was instrumental in providing feedback as we developed this new process.

Why is Disney making these changes?

Given the increasing volume of requests Disney receives for special access to our attractions, we are changing our process beginning Oct. 9 so that it creates a more consistent experience for all our Guests while providing accommodations for Guests with disabilities.

Who will be eligible for a Disability Access Service Card?

Our goal is to accommodate Guests who aren’t able to wait in a conventional queue environment due to a disability (including non-apparent disabilities).

Will Guests on wish trips also use Disability Access Service Cards?

No. Guests who are visiting through wish-granting organizations will have access through a separate program.

What should Guests do if they have concerns?

Guests should contact Guest Relations to discuss their assistance needs.

It is vague and it doesn’t address the need for quiet spaces and shorter lines that many special needs guests need. I think they are purposely being vague. Why would they want to lay a road map out for all the people just looking for the next way to game the Disney disability system?

While we have always enjoyed shorter lines because that is the way the system is designed, people with mobility issues alone don’t necessarily need shorter lines. We are happy to be treated just like everyone else. That is how we want to live our life anyway. But a lot of traditional entrances, especially in the old part of Disneyland, can’t accommodate a wheelchair. That is why different lines exist. And the new lines that are specially made for wheelchair users like this one are not really made solely for the purpose of making life easier on the wheelchair user.

Special lines like these reduce the wait time for everyone. Does the general public really want the line stopped each time a wheelchair user boards? I am guessing not.

My guess is that Disney is going to send people renting chairs and scooters through the traditional lines but people like my son, who can’t easily get out of the chair he uses full time, will still use one of these special entrances. Again, it’s not really about him. It’s about their load times and making the experience better for everyone at the Parks.

I am also guessing the new system will look a lot like the way Universal Studios does it. Which I personally have always liked much better. I’ll write an article on how it works at Universal next week so you can see. I can’t see the rumored part about going back to a queue each time you want a “fast pass” working since it would exhaust any guest at the Park, let alone a wheelchair user who can’t tolerate heat for too long.

I’m worried and a little sad for October 9th (the day the changes go into place) to roll around. I think there will be a lot of people there that just want to see what sort of stories they can make about what a mess this will be. I ask you to keep that in mind when you read the ones sure to come out. There will, also, be a lot of good people trying to figure it out that will have issues we can all learn from.

This WILL be a mess. Disney will make mistakes and people will be right there to point them out. Change is never easy. I think people in the autism and autoimmune disability groups will be hurt the most by the bumps in the road that are sure to happen. Remember, we belong to both of those as well so I understand the challenges that will be faced.  But change has to happen in some form or another because the system is beyond broken thanks to the greediness of people that gamed it.

I just believe at the heart of it all Disney is trying to do what is right and we all have to understand the intention is good but the execution may take some time to get right.

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Remembering Today

Growing up I would always hear people in my parents generation talk about where they were when President Kennedy was shot or my grandparents talk about when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Tragedy is an odd way to benchmark time and space. Yet, those of my generation are sure to remember this morning just where they stood when airplane one hit and then again as the horror of another and the realization fell upon us all that this was no accident.

Me? Bob and I had just woken up and heard the news on the alarm clock radio about the first plane. We were saddened hearing about such a tragic accident but continued to get our adorable little blond haired Kindergartener ready for school while getting the cute little 3 year old out of his crib. By the time we got downstairs for breakfast in our tiny little starter home, we knew it was not an accident. I can’t remember why but Bob continued to take Connor to St. Francis for school and headed to work at  a bank in downtown Phoenix. They were on the freeway 20 mins before I was frantically calling them to come home. Everything was closing. Everyone was being advised to stay home. Everything was wrong.

Photo credit: CNNFast-forward to when Connor was a Freshman.  His history teacher lamented at Parent-Teacher night how his was the first class that did not remember where they were when the airplanes hit. I hadn’t thought of that, but how true. They were the first to not remember a world pre-9/11. I certainly remember where he was and how panicked I was to get him home. I remember the fear instilled in my heart that day. An innocence of a generation lost who had not yet seen a foreign attack on American soil.

His teachers truth made me oddly happy. I am happy my boys were just 3 & 5 on that horrible day. I am glad they don’t remember. As I said before, tragedy is an odd way to benchmark time and space and I feel blessed that they have yet to truly understand that lesson.

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