Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Am I Too Fat For Disneyland?

This might be the hardest post I've ever written to date. I feel like in 2013, I was rocking my weight loss regimen- eating right, working out regularly, and dropping the weight slowly but surely. Gene's orders to Okinawa came through and suddenly our life was turned upside down in a ball of stress. Stress over the move and everything that came with it, a road trip back home to visit family (and three weeks on the road!), and before I knew it I was heavier than when I started trying to lose weight! It really happened out of nowhere and spiraled out of control. That is the hard truth.

Cut to going to SeaWorld with family friends who were visiting Southern California back in June, and being told I couldn't ride the roller coaster because the harness wouldn't lower enough. I was embarrassed in a way you will never in your life understand unless this very thing has happened to you. My weight and lack of control over it, slapped me hard in the face as I stood at the exit waiting for the friends who were riding the coaster. Humiliating doesn't begin to cover it. We were already planning our trip to Disneyland and I wanted to go home and cancel it that night. All I could think was "I'm too fat for Disneyland!"

I was assured there would be things to do other than ride the rides, and sure- there is tons to do in Disneyland beside the rides, but I wanted to enjoy my time at the happiest place on earth and enjoy the rides! I scoured the website looking for information about "riders of size" to see if there were warnings (like there were for SeaWorld that I so foolishly ignored in my denial). I couldn't find anything!

My next step was to tweet Disneyland and ask them if there was anywhere I could find information. That was embarrassing to type out! They tweeted me back to ask the "cast member" at every ride I was interested in. Reading that tweet, I think I had a panic attack! I was supposed to walk up to strangers, repeatedly, over the course of our three-day hopper pass, my head hung in shame, and ask them if they thought I would fit on the ride they were working on?

I figured when it came time to ride the rides I would look for how they secured you: was it a harness, a lap belt, or one of those lap bars? If it was a harness, I would just pass. If it was a lap bar, I would probably do the same!

Our first day at the parks, we had early entry into California Adventure! The first ride we saw was Mater's Junkyard Jamboree- it's like the teacups, but you're being towed in a cart, and the cart is fish tailing back and forth behind Mater. The park was pretty empty, so I nervously asked the gal at the entry to the ride if there was a weight limit, and if she thought I would fit. She looked at me like I just asked if I could eat her ear for breakfast. She assured me I would be ok, and I was.

Next was the Radiator Springs Racers! We stood there trying to see the cars whiz by to see how people were secured. We just couldn't get a good enough view. There were about 6 cast members standing at the entry to the ride and I knew I would have to ask one of them, but they were mostly fit guys. Great. Fatty would have to ask about fitting on a ride from a male who was in shape. I almost cried at the thought of it! So I nervously walked over and asked on of the guys who was super compassionate in assuring me I would fit. He then said "I've put two of Snoop Dogg's bodyguards on this ride, and they're about as wide as you and me put together- they're big boys! It was tight, but they fit- you'll be fine!"

We waited in line, I nervously approached the ride, I got into the back seat of the car, and... I fit.

Soon enough we came across an information stand and I figured instead of embarrassingly asking at every ride, I would just ask there if there were any rides throughout the parks he thought might be an issue for me. He was the kindest person, and assured me if there was a ride I wanted to go on, it would accommodate me. There were a few rides I still asked if there was a weight limit on (like Flick's Flyers and the next day before riding Dumbo the Flying Elephant), and every single time I was assured I'd be ok.
I was ok, on every single ride I went on. We didn't ride splash mountain (hello, there is nothing fun to me about walking around soaking wet), we didn't ride the roller coasters (mostly because Gene didn't want to), and the only ride I kind of wanted to go on but didn't want to chance was Jumpin' Jellyfish in California Adventure. I asked the cast member at the entrance if she thought I would be ok, she assured me I would be, but looking at it, it looked like it was going to be a TIGHT fit, so I skipped it.

I'm taking my SeaWorld and Disneyland experiences as motivation to live a healthier life and really focus on my journey without letting life sidetrack me. By the time I head to Disneyland Tokyo, I want my weight to be the last thing on my mind. I wanted to write about this first and foremost in my Disneyland recaps though, because it is the time for travel and vacations, and if you are out there and nervous about your own weight- take it from me, you'll be ok!

If you want to ask me anything about this trip and post, and don't want to in the comments, please feel free to drop me an e-mail at theyoungretiree@gmail.com! If you do leave a question in the comments please make sure I can reply to you via e-mail, or leave your e-mail for me to get back with you! If you are headed to Disneyland, enjoy your magical time there!

Monday, July 28, 2014

We're Back From Disney

... And so the madness of our last week in America begins! I couldn't have picked a better spot to spend our last weekend in America if I had tried! Visiting Disneyland for the very first time was breathtaking, amazing, delicious, magical, complete madness, exhausting, and filled with fun times for great memories!
You can pick up YOUR first visit button at Town Hall in Disneyland, the Chamber of Commerce in California Adventure, your Disneyland Resort hotel, or various shops throughout the park!
I went into Disney with a bucket list of a few things I wanted to do (try a dole whip, meet as many characters as I could, ride the teacups, get a caricature & silhouette done) and I'm super excited we crossed everything off the list! Gene pretty much just wanted to meet Donald, and he did, twice! Sure, there were things we didn't fit into our four days at the resort, but we were pleased with everything we did manage to do! Things we didn't even know we wanted to do, things we didn't even know there were to do!
At the iconic Walt statue in front of the castle

In front of It's A Small World
Sure, in the car home on Sunday we stopped and had that brief moment of "oh man, we didn't get our last dole whip!" and "Oh, you know what? We never made it back to Frontierland to ride that train thingy!" We did do so many things though:

  • We met tons of characters & got their autographs (including a few princesses and villains)
  • We had two Dole whips and a float! 
  • We rode the Pirates of the Caribbean and only stood in line for about 15 minutes thanks to Magic Hour (!!!)
  • We rode the carousel in Disneyland but completely forgot to ride the one in California Adventure (Ariel themed!)
  • RIDE ALL THE RIDES! We didn't ride them all, but we rode more than I thought we would! 
  • We saw The Dapper Dans and several other "street" performances.
  • I got my picture taken with a character randomly roaming the streets (Burt, from Mary Poppins)!
  • We got our first timer buttons and a few others.
  • We saw the World of Color, the fireworks show, and Fantasmic!
  • WE CRUISED! We took the Mark Twain Rivers of America cruise, the Jungle Cruise, It's A Small World cruise, the Storybook Land cruise, and the Pirates of the Caribbean cruise!
  • We survived the Ferris Wheel in California Adventure!
  • We took in a show or two or three (Bug's Land, Muppets, Lincoln, and Soarin' Over California).
  • I took selfies with Princesses at lunch one day, and we took selfies with characters at brunch another! 
  • We ate well, but didn't over do it!
  • We shared a quiet & romantic dance to my favorite Disney song!
  • We people watched! Disneyland just might be the best place in the world to people watch! There are multiple languages being spoken at any given time all around you, kids so excited to be there, adults so excited to be there, and couples in love everywhere you turn! 

At the end of it all we felt something like this little princess:

I can't wait to figure out how to get our photo pass plus pictures downloaded, add them to our more than 1,000 pictures from our camera, go through and pick my favorites, get our household goods delivered and start scrapbooking this amazing weekend. We may have been running very, very late for this charming date, but I'm so glad we got it in! Look out for all of our adventures coming around on the blog throughout (probably) the next several months!

Friday, July 25, 2014

... And We're Off (To Disneyland)

I am so excited that this weekend is the weekend we picked to stay at the Disneyland Resort in California! I've been planning this weekend for what seems like month, although really, we threw it together kind of last minute! If you've been following along on Instagram (@theyoungretiree), you'll know we arrived at the resort yesterday! What better way to spend our last weekend in America than at the happiest place on Earth?

Today, I'm sharing what we're taking into the parks with us while we're here! We've got a 3-Day Hopper pass, which means we can jump from Disneyland over to California Adventure, and back again! We're also doing two character dining experiences (Goofy's Kitchen and Minnie & Friends). So we've got quite a bit packed into our four days at the resort!  
I don't know about you, but I pretty much hate walking around with a purse, because I cram a bunch of stuff in there and then it's too bulky under my arm. To solve this, we are using drawstring back packs! Mine is the pink one and Gene's is the blue one!
First and foremost: SUNSCREEN! With one afternoon spent poolside and three days spent wandering around the parks, we're going to be lathering it on! We got the sport kind, which we use hiking, and we really like!

Second most important: EARS! Gene didn't want ears, so he has his Donald hat, and I've got my Minnie Mouse ears! They obviously will be on our heads, and not in our bags!

Next up is a photo case with markers and cards for CHARACTER AUTOGRAPHS! I've worked on them and made them a little prettier than plain cards! I picked up a cheap plastic case to tuck them in so the wouldn't get bent and messed up in our bags!

In my bag I have my PENNY PRESS COLLECTION BOOK WITH CHANGE! I went to the bank and got a few rolls of quarters and pennies so we would be sure to have enough for the penny press machines! What a fun scavenger hunt souvenir!

Lastly, JELLY BELLY! These are more for aesthetics than anything else! I don't know that we'll take them into the park or if we'll just nibble on them poolside and during downtime in the room!

I will also have my little tech wallet with me to hold my cards, cash, and phone! I'm so excited to experience Disneyland for the first time and enjoy the happiest of places with Gene before we leave for Okianwa! We're planning simple souvenirs: silhouettes and caricatures and plenty of pictures! They'll be coming to the blog over the course of the next few weeks, I'm sure!  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Love Gift of Appreciation

This past weekend at our Marriage Enrichment Retreat we did several fun activities, and one of the more moving ones for me and Gene was an appreciation exercise! We liked it so much that we've decided to make it a regular practice in our marriage, and picked a love gift for the weekend based on it.
To copy from the handout:
"Many times when people are upset with one another they lose sight of all the positive aspects of their spouse and of the relationship itself. It is very important to examine the positive aspects of your spouse's personality. If these positive areas of your spouse or of the marriage are acknowledged and discussed, change is often easier and can take place more quickly. Exploring and appreciating aspects of your spouse's personality and/or character that you appreciate will have positive consequences for your marriage. 
For a few moments, we'd like you to think about specific, positive aspects of your spouse's personality. Even if you've only seen one instance of this particular quality or characteristic in your spouse, we'd like you to think about it. 
Mark three to five items that you think are characteristic, even slightly of your spouse at times. For each item you mark, briefly think of an actual incident that really happened that illustrates this characteristic of your spouse. Then share this incident with your spouse."
Seems simple enough, right? It was more powerful for us than I thought it would be, and hopefully can be for you as well! Here is the list:

  1. Loving
  2. Sensitive
  3. Brave
  4. Intelligent
  5.  Thoughtful
  6. Generous
  7. Loyal
  8. Truthful
  9. Strong
  10. Energetic
  11. Sexy
  12. Decisive
  13. Creative
  14. Imaginative
  15. Fun
  16. Attractive
  17. Interesting
  18. Supportive
  19. Funny
  20. Considerate
  21. Affectionate
  22. Organized
  23. Resourceful
  24. Athletic
  25. Cheerful
  26. Coordinated
  27. Graceful
  28. Elegant
  29. Gracious
  30. Playful
  31. Caring
  32. A great friend
  33. Exciting
  34. Thrifty
  35. Passionate
  36. Committed
  37. Involved
  38. Expressive
  39. Active
  40. Careful
  41. Reserved
  42. Adventurous
  43. Receptive
  44. Reliable
  45. Responsible
  46. Dependable
  47. Nurturing
  48. Warm
  49. Virile
  50. Kind
  51. Gentle
  52. Practical
  53. Lusty
  54. Witty
  55. Relaxed
  56. Beautiful
  57. Handsome
  58. Rich
  59. Calm
  60. Lively
  61. A great parent
  62. Assertive
  63. Protective
  64. Sweet
  65. Tender
  66. Powerful
  67. Flexible
  68. Understanding
  69. Totally silly
  70. Shy
  71. Vulnerable
  72. ___________________

So for our love gift we bought a tin of DoubleTree cookies, with the intention of keeping the tin of cookies to use as a vessel for keeping notes of appreciation. Also, to call our minds back to the weekend of our retreat throughout each week!

Once a week, we're going to sit down and come up with a moment from that week where we appreciated the other for one of these characteristics, and on Sundae Sundays sit down and share with one another our love! It made us both feel so great, not only hearing what the other appreciated about us, but being able to share our appreciation- let the other know we think of them and appreciate their effort in our marriage!

What are some characteristics you would add to the list? Feel free to pin this, print it, and share it with your own spouse or significant other!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Getting To Know Your Spouse // Love Map Exercise

One of the things Gene and I really enjoyed during our Marriage Enrichment Retreat was an exercise in getting to know each other a little more. A "test" if you will to see how well we knew one another, but really, an opportunity to find things out we had never talked about! I posted a picture of it on instagram and several folks have asked for the list of questions! I don't know where they came from, who thought of them, or anything like that, but thought I would pass them along to you all!

We took them in 10 question increments and answered them privately then discussed them. You might be surprised how much you know about your spouse, how much your spouse knows about you, and all the fun things you can take the time to learn about each other!

  1. Name your spouse's two closest friends.
  2. What is your spouse's favorite musical group, composer, or instrument?
  3. What was your spouse wearing when you first met?
  4. What are your spouse's hobbies?
  5. Where was your spouse born?
  6. What stresses are facing your spouse in the immediate future?
  7. Describe in detail your spouse's day, either today or yesterday.
  8. When is your spouse's birthday?
  9. What is the date of your anniversary?
  10. Who is your spouses favorite relative?
  11. What is your spouse's fondest dream, as yet unachieved?
  12. What is your spouse's favorite flower?
  13. What is one of your spouses greatest disaster scenarios?
  14. What is your spouse's favorite time of making love?
  15. What makes your spouse feel most competent?
  16. What is one thing that turns your spouse on sexually?
  17. What is your spouse's favorite meal?
  18. What is your spouse's favorite way to spend an evening?
  19. What is your spouse's favorite color?
  20. What personal improvement does your spouse want to make in his or her life?
  21. What kind of present would your spouse like best?
  22. What was one of your spouse's favorite childhood memories?
  23. What was your spouse's favorite vacation?
  24. What is one of your spouse's favorite ways of being soothed?
  25. Who is your spouse's greatest source of support (other than you)?
  26. What is one of your spouse's hobbies?
  27. What is your spouse's favorite sport to watch?
  28. What is your spouse's favorite sport to play?
  29. What does your spouse most like to do with time off?
  30. What is one of your spouse's favorite weekend activities?
  31. What is your spouse's favorite getaway place?
  32. What is one of your spouse's favorite movies?
  33. What are some of the important events coming up in your spouse's life and how does he or she feel about them? 
  34. What are some of your spouse's favorite ways to work out?
  35. What is your spouse's favorite cologne or perfume?
  36. Who was your spouse's favorite friend in childhood?
  37. What is one of your spouse's favorite magazines?
  38. Name your spouse's major rivals or "enemies."
  39. What would be an ideal job for your spouse?
  40. What is your spouse's major fear?
  41. Who is your spouse's least favorite relative?
  42. What is your spouse's favorite holiday?
  43. What is your spouse's favorite kind of reading?
  44. What is your spouse's favorite tv show?
  45. Who is your spouse's favorite poet?
  46. What is your spouse's favorite side of the bed?
  47. What is your spouse currently most sad about?
  48. What is one of your spouse's concerns or worries?
  49. What medical problems does your spouse worry about?
  50. What is one of your spouse's worst childhood experiences?
  51. Which people does your spouse most admire in the world? Name two.
  52. Who is your spouse's least favorite person you both know?
  53. What is one of your spouse's favorite desserts?
  54. What is your spouse's social security number?
  55. What is one of your spouse's favorite novels?
  56. What is your spouse's favorite romantic restaurant?
  57. What are two of your spouse's aspirations, hopes, wishes?
  58. Does your spouse have a secret ambition? What is it?
  59. What food does your spouse hate?
  60. What is your spouse's favorite animal?
  61. What is your spouse's favorite song?

I was really impressed with some of these that we both knew! I was also really impressed with how we never thought to talk about some of these questions! They were a fun way to get to know each other a little more! We haven't quite finished since our retreat weekend was pretty full, but I look forward to finishing them, and going over them every few months or so on date nights- favorites can change, situations can change, and it's good to continuously be learning about your spouse!

Feel free to pin this list, share it with your friends, and let me know in the comments what other fun questions you would add to the list!
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