My First Adventures By Disney Vacation is Booked! FINALLY

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I am extremely excited to announce that after many years of trying, our very first Adventures by Disney vacation is now officially booked!  FINALLY!

Here is my Adventures by Disney story…….

About 3-4 years ago, I got the bug to want to travel Internationally for the first time.  Neither my husband or I had ever traveled outside of the country and although I am terrified of flying, something just clicked in me that made me decide that it was time!  Being a Disney Vacation Club member, I often get various Disney information in the mail.  One day I received an brochure that contained information about all sorts of glorious vacations (both International and Domestic) that were provided by Adventures By Disney.  I started flipping through the catalog and came across the pages for a trip of a lifetime to Germany.  I was instantly hooked… bait, line and sinker.  They showed the most amazing pictures of visiting beautiful castles (Neuschwanstein Castle: the castle that  Walt Disney himself used as motivation for Sleeping Beauty Castle), taking a Berlin Wall bicycle tour, learning to make pretzels, brewery visits, chocolate factory tours and of course, lots of yummy German food.  I was in a vacation  haze.  The trip would start in Munich and end in Berlin with stops in Rothenberg and Bamberg.    As fabulous as all this was, it was all wrapped up in a big red bow by adding the fact that this all was accompanied by all the Disney magic one would expect.  They would take care of all the transportation, excursions, many of the meals and hotel check-ins.  Being the person in our household that plans all vacations and events (which I do enjoy doing), it was still such a wonderful thought to realize that we could book this vacation and that is all I would have to do.  They planned EVERYTHING.  We just had to basically show up.  What a nice break that would be for me.
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Although I was completely on board 100%, my husband…. not so much.  This could be because I basically came home one day and said, “I am booking this trip to Germany”.  Not very nice of me to not include him in the decision making.  There were also all sorts of other wonderful locations we could go (Ireland, Italy, Switzerland, London, etc.).  His response was “OK” and he went about his business.  He never showed a great deal of excitement, but I felt I was excited enough for the two of us, so I went ahead and booked the trip.  A booking which included a $1000.00 deposit.

The trip was booked for the following year.  I continued to be super excited about the whole experience and kept reading the itinerary and continued to try and get my husband to rise to my excitement level (he was excited about the Berlin Wall Bike, but that’s all I could get out of him).   As the months passed by and the trip started getting closer, in true Tammy fashion, I realized that I had committed to more then I could afford and there was just no way I was going to be able to swing this trip.  We decided that we would postpone one year and go the following year.  I was pretty devastated, but my husband seemed okay with it all.

I postponed the trip to the following year.  During this time, we decided that we were going to get MARRIED!  Finally, after 14 years, we were going to take the leap and become husband and wife.  At first we thought we would just make the Germany trip our honeymoon, but as the wedding expenses started getting higher (amazing how much a wedding costs, even when you go relatively cheap),  I realized once again that we were not going to be able to swing the cost of the trip.  By this time, my husband was starting to get on board with the idea, so we were both disappointed, but we had the wedding to look forward to, so again, the trip was postponed to the following year.

This brings us to the year that I found out I would be going to France for a month for work.  I’m sure you can see where this is headed… there was no way I was going to be gone for a month in France and then turn around and take this elaborate trip back over to Germany.  Unfortunately, by this time, Disney had enough of our postponing and we had to forfeit the $1000.00 deposit.

So, life went on and I continued dreaming about eventually taking an Adventures By Disney vacation (to any location).  Which brings us to a month ago when out of the blue, I received an email saying that if we did not confirm and book a reservation by end of April (for travel within 2019) that our reservation would be forfeited.  Hmmmm… the reservation I already thought had been forfeited had now returned?!?!  This was such amazing news.  Now the problem was that we had to figure out which Adventures By Disney vacation we could afford to do in such sort notice.  They have what they call “short escape” trips which are usually 3-4 nights long.  We narrowed it down to Boston, New Year, Montana or good ole’ faithful Disneyland.  After much financial debate  (remembering that 2019 is supposed to be my getting out of debt year), we compromised and decided to do the Disneyland Resort and Southern California Short Escape.  Now this may seem silly, since this is only 6 hours from our home and because we have been to Disneyland more times than I can count.  However, I look at it this way.  1.) We are FINALLY getting to do an Adventures by Disney vacation.  I truly believe that once my husband sees the amazing service that is going to be provided, he is going to be as hooked on these Disney trips as I already am.
2.) We go to Disneyland every October anyway.  Instead of losing the deposit (again), it made more sense to put the deposit towards a trip we were already planning on taking.

So what makes the Adventures By Disney trip different then just going to Disneyland on our own?  Well, to start with, it’s the whole special treatment thing that Disney is so famous for.  We will get to stay in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which we have stayed at once before, but is just to pricey for a normal yearly trip.  Plus, even with all of our previous Disneyland trips, we will get to do some special things that we have never done before.  The group will get a special visit into Walt Disney’s apartment that is on Main Street above the fire house.  I knew that it existed, but I never thought I would get to go inside.  I’m almost giddy at the thought.  Plus we will get a special backstage tour of the park and a private tour of the Walt Disney Studios.  They will arrange character breakfasts and special dinners.  We will also get to have VIP entrance to the park (hopefully cutting down on those crazy long lines that we always end up standing in).

To say that I’m excited is an understatement.  I cannot wait for October to get here.  I am pretty positive that after the trip is over, we will end up booking another Adventures By Disney trip right away.  It’s really crazy because I’m normally the one that is very apprehensive and gets anxiety when put in a situation where things are new or unknown, however, when it comes to travel, it is my husband who turns into that person.  He is always a little reluctant about things until we actually do them and then is get so excited!  This happened with cruising.  I took him on his first cruise and now he wants to go every year!

We’ll be seeing you real soon Mickey!

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My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 31

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 31
104. What have you accomplished in the last five years?

I am pleased to say that the past five years have been chalk full of accomplishments.  As a matter of fact, I would have to say that in the past five years, I’ve accomplished more then I have for the majority of my adult life.  My top accomplishments in the past five years?  Marriage, college graduate,  and my first trip to Europe.

It’s been about a year and a half now since the much anticipated wedding day.  I think our friends and family just assumed we would never get married.  We were together 14 years before we finally took the plunge into marriage.  I guess we just really wanted to make sure it was going to stick this time since we both made prior marriage mistakes.  Seriously though, to be perfectly honest, it never really seemed all that important to us and we rarely ever even spoke about marriage.  We were basically married already in all senses except for the piece of paper that said so.  However, one day we had a situation were he had some health issues and I ended up having to call an ambulance.  When the paramedics kept asking me if I was his wife and I had to say no (meaning I had no legal grounds to make any decisions for him), I think it was a trigger for both of us that just maybe it was time we made things legal.  I thought after 14 years together that being marriage would not really change anything… and it really didn’t change anything in our day-to-day life.  There was something special about being about to call him my husband verse boyfriend (it was always very awkward for me being in your 40’s and having to say “this is my boyfriend”).
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It’s been about 3 years now, but my other major accomplishment during the last five years was graduating college.  I think that is the accomplishment I am most proud of, mainly because I know all the hard work that it took to get to that piece of paper that is now hanging on my wall in the bedroom.  There were so many times I wanted to quiet.  I thank my husband all the time for his support because without it, I would have given up.  I was working full time and taking classes in the evening and doing homework all weekend.  To say it was challenging would be an understatement.  There were times when I would just be sitting there starting at the same page of a text book for half an hour because I just did not have the clarity and mental capacity to retain any information I was reading.  It was at these times I would end up breaking down into tears.  Which is where the support of my husband was priceless.  He would calm me down, make me laugh and also make me step back for a minute and take a break to regain my composure so that I could jump back in and get things done.  It was some of the toughest times of my life and yet some of the most rewarding at the same time.

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Last year I was able to take my first international trip.  My work sent me to France for a month to work in Paris office.  I am one of just a select few that have been offered this opportunity, so that in itself was a great accomplishment.  I know people travel to Europe all the time and probably don’t consider it an “accomplishment”.  Part of what makes this an accomplishment for me is that I have a HUGE fear of flying.  The longest I had ever flown up until that point was the 5 1/2 hours to Florida and Hawaii.  The thought of being on a plane for 11 hours was almost a deal breaker. Especially since I would be making the trip alone.  Anytime I am able to overcome a fear is always something I consider to be an accomplishment.  Being an introvert also posed some challenges to this trip.  Not being an extremely social person made this trip more of a challenge then someone who does not have social anxiety.  I don’t usually venture out and do things that are unknown to me when I’m in my own country… so you can imagine the fear of having to do that in a foreign country… all alone, without speaking the language.  That was a huge personal growth and accomplishment for me.
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Sometimes I worry that on a day to day basis, I am not accomplishing enough.  I get overwhelmed and often feel defeated by life.  This was a good topic because it forced me to step back and realize that I have accomplished a lot more then I often give myself credit for.  I think it’s important for us all to do that every once in a while.

 

 

My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 27

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 27
443. What was your favorite grade in school and why?

Being one that loved school, it is hard to pinpoint what my favorite grade was.  If I had to pick just one, I would say that my favorite was 1st grade. There are several reasons why this sticks out as my favorite.

I’ll start out by explaining that my entire kindergarten year of school was pretty emotionally challenging (for both my mom and myself).  I would cry EVERY morning when she would drop me off at school.  I would cry and beg her not to leave me.  I don’t remember specifics of how long it would take before I would settle down and participate with the rest of the class, but eventually the tears would stop.   I do recall that I enjoyed playing with my classmates and also enjoyed learning.  Yet, every morning it would always be the same thing.  I would be fine up until the point of my mom walking me into the classroom, and then I would lose it.  There was one time in particular when there was a substitute teacher and my mom took me into the classroom and I had my normal meltdown.  My mom told the teacher that she needed to watch me because I would escape and run out of the classroom.  The teacher clearly did not believe my mother because after my mom drove away, I bolted.  I ran out of the class and the gated area out in front of the classroom and I started running down the street after her.  My mom said she had a bad feeling and actually ended up driving around the block.  That’s when she found me running down the street.  The reason the 1st grade lands as my favorite grade is partially because that was when I finally stopped crying and my love for school really started to bloom.

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One of the other things that makes the 1st grade stick our for me was that this was my first taste of doing “real” school work.  I loved the workbooks we would get and also all the handouts with different types of subject work.  I guess this is where my love for paper started.  I actually love the smell of new text books.  Even many years later when I was doing my college work, I had the option of getting paper text books or using electronic books.  I always wanted the paper copies.  My love for text books carried over to all other grades, but the 1st grade is when it all started.

The last thing that makes the 1st grade my favorite grade is that this was the first time that I got to go school supply shopping before the new year began.  This was another love of mine as a child (who am I kidding.. I still love it as an adult).  Notebooks, pencils, glue, scissors, pencils boxes and binders… it oddly become one of my favorite parts of summer.  The time when we were getting closer to school starting and I knew we would get to go buy school supplies.

The last and most important reason the 1st grade was my favorite grade… Maybe because I was just so stinking adorable!  🙂

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My Story: 365 day blog challenge Day 3

365 Day Blog Post Challenge 2019
Day 3
123. List 10 things you want to accomplish before it’s too late

This was a great prompt to come up during the first few days of the new year.  It sure made me stop and think about some of my more meaningful goals and the importance of not continuing to put everything off.  We have a tendency to think that there is always a tomorrow, when in fact, there are no guarantees.  As you can see from my list below, the majority of the 10 things I would like to accomplish before it’s too late relate to travel and experiences.

1.) Visit all Disney parks.
I was fortunate enough to be able to visit 3 different Disney parks in 2018.
Disneyland in California, Disneyworld in Florida and Disney Paris.  I’ve been to
Disney California and Florida many times, but walking into Disneyland Paris was
a whole different level of Disney excitement.  Just knowing I was in another country
but getting to experience something so familiar was a unique experience.  I’m sure I
would feel the same if I was able to visit all the Disney parks.
2.) Travel Route 66.
I think this would just be a blast!  I actually have some books on fun places to
stop and also places to eat when traveling Route 66.  So, I have material to do the
research, now it’s just making the time to do it!

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3.) Buy a small RV and visit all U.S. States.
This is a dream of Don and mine.  We go to RV shows often to dream.  We don’t want
anything extravagant.  Just a small RV (something I would feel comfortable driving)
that we could throw our basic necessities in and hit the road.  There is so much to see
in the U.S.  We have not really been to many states, so our dream is to get out there
and see all that America has to offer.
4.) Be fully debt free and never need to depend on credit cards again.
This is something I am very seriously trying to accomplish over the next few
years.  I grew up in a home were living off of credit cards and having a large
amount of credit card debt was normal.  I got my first credit card at age 16
and have been in debt ever since.  I have never had a time in my adult life when I
was not in what most would consider pretty significant credit card debt.  I’ve never
experienced the feeling of not living paycheck to paycheck.
5.) Travel with Don to Europe: Germany, England, Netherlands,
I would have to say that my recent month long trip to France for work definitely tops
the list of one of the most extreme experiences I have ever had.  Although it was a
wonderful trip, I did miss Don.  I would have loved to experience my first
international trip with him, but sadly it just did not work out.  This makes the list of
10 things I want to accomplish before it’s to late simply because there is a pretty large
age difference between Don and myself.  I want to be able to do this while we are
both young enough to fully enjoy everything that international travel has to offer.
6.)  Go to Williamsburg Virginia!!
This should have probably been the first thing on my list.  I’ve wanted to go to
Williamsburg Virginia for longer than I can remember.  I am a history geek.  I love
the hands-on type of history like you can experience in Williamsburg.  Where people
dress up in period outfits and you get to see them reenact the living conditions of the
time.
7.) Live more of a minimalist life style (have more adventures and less “stuff”).
Just like the debt, this is another area I am making a priority this coming year.  The
less “stuff” I have and the end of 2019 the better.
8.) Be financial set so Don can retire.
I often worry that Don will not be able to retire due to our financial situation.  He still
has several years to go before he would be able to retire at a normal retirement age,
but my fear is that due to our debt struggle, that he won’t even be able to retire then.
I don’t want him to have to work any longer then he should.  Finding the tools to get
into a better financial state is top priority for me in 2019.

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9.) Make a point to spend more quality time with family and friends making
memories.

Life is just busy.  That should not be an excuse to not be spending quality time with
family and friends.  I recall just a few years back when I was working  overtime
every weekend to try and make more money.  I would go into the office and work
every Saturday and sometimes Sundays.  We missed so many family events and I
never really made an effort to try and see my friends.  I basically would work, eat and
sleep.  I missed out on making so many memories during this time.  Time is the one
thing you cannot get back and as I already stated, tomorrow is not a guarantee.  So
attend that family get together and make those dinner plans with friends.
10.) Be healthier both body and mind.  Be off all prescription medications.
This is another work in progress, but I am hoping that changing to the lazy KETO
way of eating and continuing to drop some of this excess weight (down 17 pounds so
far), that this is not so far out of reach.  Although I have inherited my high blood
pressure from BOTH parents, I do believe that if I was at a healthy weight, I could
get it under control enough to get off the daily medication.  As for the anxiety.. I am
not so sure that will be so cut and dry, but there just has to be a way to calm a mind
without resorting to medication.

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So those are my top 10 things I would like to accomplish before it’s too late.  Who is to say when “too late” will be.  What I do know is that this topic was a fantastic reminder to myself of what is important to me and forces me to start thinking of ways to start taking the steps I need to reach these goals.

 

Why a Blog? Why Now?

Hello All!  I am so excited to began my first blog.

I have always been a big fan of journaling and also an obsessive photographer.  This blog seemed to be a creative way of joining these two hobbies into one.  I have done several personal journals, but I wanted to have an outlet where I could share my thoughts and experiences with others.

I decided to finally give blogging  a try because this is going to be a very active year for me.  I have some pretty amazing adventures coming up soon, so I hope you join me on this crazy ride. I am more than certain there will much comedy, good times and some life contemplation along the way.

**Keep an eye out for my posts coming in May and June when I will be spending 4 weeks in France for a work assignment.  I will be taking my first international trip and to top it off, I will be going alone (except for a week visit from my fabulous cousin – where we will be running around like American Tourists in Paris).  This is going to be especially entertaining as I do not speak any French, so I will let everyone join in on all my embarrassing and awkward moments that are assured to transpire.