Beaches, Bikinis, and Badassery

Yep, I know that’s not a word.  Except it is now, technically, as of the publishing of this post.  You’re welcome.

So this weekend the Master’s Ski and Wakeboard Tournament (Sponsored by Nautique) is in town.  Apparently, it’s a very big deal.  Kids and adults travel from far away lands to come here and demonstrate their skills in the water.  I have always been aware of the Master’s, though vaguely, and have never attended.  Until yesterday I really had no idea of the magnitude of this event or of its true scope in the world of water sports.  Two reasons for this:

  1. I’m incredibly self-absorbed.  I don’t swim.  I like the lake, yes, and the beach, but I never learned to swim properly and now at the age of 37 I am somewhat certain it isn’t a skill I’ll ever be able to list on my LinkedIn profile.  No swimming means, obviously, no water sports.  I don’t ski or slalom or wake board or anything that might result in me drowning.  I don’t even venture into unnecessarily deep bathtubs.  So, since I don’t do it, I’m not involved in it at all, I don’t read about it and am generally clueless.
  2. There was a second reason when I started typing, but now I think number 1 is enough of an explanation, so we’ll just skip the second reason.

So apparently for people who swim and ski and have boats and live near oceans and are immensely more active in sports and outdoors than I am, the Master’s is a VERY big deal.  It is THE big deal.  People gather from as far away as Belgium and Italy at this huge lake in Georgia to see the best-of-the-best slalom (not sure what this is but it’s fun to say), trick (it’s not what you think) and jump their way to glory.

Today I had the opportunity to attend my first Master’s Tournament, and it was everything I expected it to be, good and bad.  Mostly good.  The bad wasn’t so much BAD as it was, fit girls in tiny bikinis who are really tan and have no body fat at all and “is there a tree big enough for me to hide behind”-type thoughts, and wanting to pull my shorts down far enough to cover myself while staring at them in a mix of disbelief and envy.  One of the girls from the Monster Energy Tint looked like she used makeup from the Snapchat Filter line.  I kept squinting my eyes, unable to discern whether my eyes were blurry from the sun or her skin was just that smooth.  The guys all looked like PacSun models, brown skin and blonde hair, some in ponytails or dreads, lumbering around in board shorts laughing with each other about who has the most individual ab muscles.  Is this real life?

Besides the blindingly beautiful people with exotic accents, there was a lot to do and see.  Bouncy houses for little kids, fair food like hot dogs, beer, and funnel cakes, lots of sponsor booths selling gear and apparel, and people of all ages having a great time on the beach.

Anyway, the tournament drew a massive crowd (because, as mentioned previously this is apparently a big deal and everyone knew about it but me) and the beach was packed.  The announcers raved as each skier sliced through the water at top speed, followed by cheers, applause and the boom of dance music pouring out of the speakers.  The hot sun, blue skies, and gentle breeze all conspired to invoke feelings of a modern day Monet painting, complete with wildflowers in bloom on the distant lawn.

So, in summary:  The Master’s Tournament is truly something to see.  Nautique Boats, the sponsor, is very well represented and Callaway Gardens, the venue, is a wonder of the modern world.  A fun time was had by all.  I left with an appreciation for something I had no awareness of before and – if you can believe this – a want to learn more.  I guess the next step will be swimming lessons, or skiing lessons?  Maybe I’ll go way out of my comfort zone, and take a bath.



By the way, you can find info on the Master’s Tournament HERE and info on Callaway Gardens HERE.

Han and Leia and Vader, Oh My!

I just wrapped up my posts on Disney this morning, and today I found this drawing in my son’s end-of-year folder from school.  I believe it speaks for itself.



In other news, it looks like instead of purchasing a new vehicle, we will be visiting Disney again this fall.

Part Three, Amigos

Official Disney EVERYTHING ELSE Because I’m Tired.

I left something out of the last post!  Before meeting Aladdin we went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride.  Always a favorite.  Even before the addition of Captain Jack Sparrow, I enjoyed this ride.  Now, with Captain Jack, my son has a laugh or two.  He’s never seen the movies, as I think they are a bit too heavy for a 1st-grader, but he knows who Captain Jack is and riding this ride inspires the pirate in him.  After the ride, we were in the gift shop (of course), and a “wench” from the attached dining area began calling ot Emmett.  Her wrists in cuffs, she asked him to help her find a key and offered a reward.  He searched and found a key!  (She gave him a hint and it’s really cute where he found it, and nope, I’m not going to spoil this either.)  The grateful wench gave Emmett a “real” pirate eyepatch.  He wore it so long it left a line on his face, and he did not remove it when he met Aladdin and some of the other characters. In the photo with Aladdin posted on Part 2, Emmett’s eye patch is prominently displayed.

[Important Sidenote: There’s a card game that goes on in the Magic Kingdom called Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, sort-of like a scavenger hunt, that looks SUPER rad and I want to play one day.  We saw a father and son team getting a clue right next to where the wench had been standing and if you have a chance to play and the time to do it, I’d recommend it.  Looks fun. Joshua in our resort cafeteria, who I already mentioned, actually told us about this game as well.]

It has been months since I posted about Disney and I am SUCH a procrastinator, this is just par for the course for me. To be fair, I’ve got a job, two kids, a husband, a house, and millions of responsibilities outside of this blog. Still, I wish I had mentioned each and every Disney employee by name, as was my original plan.

Star Wars, Star Tours, and the Greatest Jedi who Ever Lived.

So when we finally got to the Star Wars part of the trip, Emmett was chomping at the bit. He had been waiting for MONTHS to be a part of the Jedi Training Academy. We woke up early and rushed through breakfast so that we could get to the park and get in line. We arrived and had to wait in a HUGE line. Once the park opened, my husband ran with Emmett over to the line for Jedi Training. By the time he got there, all the spots were filled. We’re talking maybe 4 minutes after the gates opened. We were crushed. It turns out Disney allows all kinds of rule-breaking, as long as it’s authorized Disney VIP rule-breaking. We were an hour early but some people had purchased breakfast at the park’s restaurant in order to get in early and get in line. We didn’t even know this was an option. As a mom and a consumer, I was pissed. I believe in playing fair and when the play is fair and I play hard, I’m used to winning. I don’t like it when people – or massive corporations – cheat.

I stopped a cast member who just happened to walk by. She was kind and helpful and just happened to be a higher up. She gave me the name of the director of the Jedi show and said to take that info to Guest Relations, so off I went. Once there I waited my turn between some parents who had lost a beloved teddy bear (my heart goes out to them, this can be tragic) and a little old lady who didn’t seem to know where she was or what she was doing there, though her “I Heart Han Solo” shirt suggested otherwise.

My number was called and I stepped up to the Guest Relations podium to speak with Souad. Souad is a pretty lady with black hair and tan skin. She’s from Casablanca. Yes, like the movie. Ask her how many times a day she has to talk about that film and she will smile sweetly, but I’m guessing she’s tired of hearing my lame tourist jokes the minute they come out of my mouth. The movie is nothing like the place, she tells me. Casablanca is beautiful and the people there are interesting, and the movie doesn’t do it justice. This conversation roused my curiosity and I would very much like to visit Casablanca one day. It’s on my bucket list. Anyway, Souad listened to our story patiently and then excused herself to make a couple of phone calls. She was empathetic to my mommy plight, having done everything I was told to do, early and with enthusiasm, and after all, it WAS his birthday. (Yes, I pulled the birthday card, because it was true.) Souad came back to the podium with GREAT news. We were on the list for the first show!! I hugged her with sincerity and we left, making our way over to the staging area.

To be very clear: Our entire Disney vacation was built around this Jedi show and Emmett getting to be a part of it. I nearly cried when we were given a spot. (Now, I’m not the kind of mom who thinks my kids should have things they don’t earn, and I know sometimes life is not fair, but this was an instance that I felt like fixing it for him was ok and even necessary.) So once we were in line with the other kids and he had his Jedi robe, we started walking to the stage. Emmett is 7, and for him, this is real. This is as real as we are. I think he has, on some level, an awareness that Star Wars is just a fun story, but part of him still has that wonder and willingness to believe and I’ll do anything to preserve that for him for as long as possible. In fact, I kinda hope he never loses it.

The Jedi warriors were split up into groups, given light sabers and instructions, and here we go. I joined a large crowd of parents already holding up their phones to record and photograph on the left side of the stage. The show started, and I watched with tears in my eyes as my sweet scientist, crime fighter, sensitive, courageous boy was chosen to be the first to battle Darth Vader. For us, this is fiction. For a 7 year old, this is Darth Vader, one of the baddest guys in the universe, who just arrived in a could of smoke and promised to destroy our planet. Emmett came out swinging, and I could not be prouder of his bravery. It was the coolest thing to see. My little guy has a big heart and he is already a crusader for what’s right. He cares very much about others, their feelings and their safety, and that was evident even in this moment. Once the show was over, each Jedi received a rad pin to commemorate their training and battle. It was amazing, and if there ever was an experience that flooded my heart and spirit with joy, this was it. Disney is very, very good at what they do, and my little Jedi is still talking about that day.

Don’t mind the gross kid.

See how proud he is?

The rest of our Disney trip was a blur of color, smiles, noise, and food. The teacups were, of course, the other high point of the visit, and if you haven’t tried them I think you should. We are planning our trip for this year, including some never-before-done items like character dining. Blog posts will most likely, probably, eventually follow.

Nuun, Ruuns, and Fuun

Hi Guys!

I’ve been absent for a while, I know.  Here’s a quick update:

I’m now a Brand Ambassador for Nuun Hydration and I LOVE it.  I’m currently training for fitness only and varying my running surfaces more.  Treadmill, road, and trail.  I am also using the stair machine a few times a week to gain strength in my hamstrings and glutes.  I can tell a difference after a couple of months of consistently doing this.  My legs are more powerful and I can run a bit faster.

In addition to working full-time, I have a 7 year-old scientist and a 1 year-old bulldozer who share my space (and most of my food).  Life in our home is CRAZY.  With Summer fast approaching, I hardly have 2 minutes to myself, let alone time to write.  PLEASE STAY TUNED ANYWAY!  I will be launching a series of book reviews soon, so you won’t want to miss it! (And thanks for your support.)

Also on the way: A recipe series starring my son, who is an aspiring chef/astronaut/storm trooper.

Music for the day: Anything from the Revivalists Pandora station. SO good.

Book I’m reading: A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

Thought for the week:  Let the fire inside you burn brighter than the fire around you.