Not Knowing You Hit the Lottery Until You Lose the Ticket

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One of the things I’ve learned as a writer in this social media world is that the title of your blog should always tell the reader what they’re in for.  Y’all, you have no idea.  But I so truly feel today that I hit the biggest lottery in the world and was totally ignorant about the victory until I lost the ticket.

My dad was sick for a long time, and when the end came, he was in hospice.  People came in and out to see him, and through much of it, I waited in the small waiting room across the hall from his room.  I wanted all of the people that knew him had a chance to say their goodbyes, but it gave me the unique opportunity to hear their conversations as they went in and out of his room.  People loved my dad.  He was well respected, would be desperately missed by more than just us, and I heard time and again as friends and family drifted in and out of that room what a great man my dad was.

My dad the day I got married

My dad the day I got married

The same types of conversations were had at his funeral.  People approached me and talked about what a great man my dad was.  When you’re a kid, you always think you’re dad is a great man, but hearing how much he impacted the lives of others gave me a whole new perspective on just what an incredible guy he was.

My mom’s passing was much more unexpected than my dad’s.  Because she was on life support, there really wasn’t an opportunity for anyone to go in and tell her goodbye.  On her last day, when they roused her enough for us to talk to her, we were able to tell her how much we loved her, but the same opportunity wasn’t afforded to any of her friends.

My amazing mom

My amazing mom

She didn’t want a funeral.  My mom felt like she would be saving us the pain of having to greet people at a time I think she believed should be private.  But this afternoon, I had a chance to be around people my mom worked with.  “She was good people.” “You’re mom was awesome.” “Anna was the best.”  They couldn’t say enough good things about her.  My mom was loved, respected by the people she supervised, and as one of her coworkers told me through his tears, she was an amazing and incredible friend.

I loved my parents.  I knew we were lucky to have them, but I didn’t know how lucky we were.  It was both a moment of tremendous pride and incredible sadness to hear how beloved my mom and dad were to those people I didn’t know very well.

I wish I’d found that lottery ticket.  I had a treasure way greater than I ever imagined.

Doing Disney For Father’s Day – Making Dad’s Day Special

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I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here at all, but my family and I love Disney World.  Yeah, I have mentioned it, haven’t I?  We’ve spent every holiday at Disney World at least once or twice (or twelve times), and we’ve celebrated many occasions at Walt Disney World.  But the one holiday/occasion that often gets overlooked when we think of what to celebrate at Disney, it’s Father’s Day.  It’s at an odd spot on the calendar – usually right before or right after the end of school.  It’s hard to take kids out of school in the last week to get Dad to Disney, no matter how much he begs!  But let’s see how you can give your Dad a Disney Day – whether you can be at the park or not!

These tips below are for Dads lucky enough to be headed to Walt Disney World for their special day:

Let Dad Choose the Attractions

No matter how embarrassing he might be, this is your Dad, and it’s his day to celebrate.  If he wants to do the Laugh Floor, hoping to be THAT Guy, where he gets up, dances some Elaine from Seinfeld spastic and somewhat inappropriate dance, ya gotta let him.  My daughters and I have all vowed to never see the Laugh Floor show again with Jim in tow.  Even we’d have to make an exception for Father’s Day.

Let Dad Choose a Meal

Honestly, I choose the meal virtually every night of the week anyway, so it’s nice to give Dad a chance to choose something he’d like to eat!  There are restaurants at Walt Disney World for every Dad palate, so offer to make an Advanced Dining Reservation somewhere you know he’ll love.  Is Dad a big steak guy?  How about Le Cellier in Canada at EPCOT or the Yachtsman Steakhouse?  Perhaps your Papa likes pasta!  Check out Tutto Italia in Italy at EPCOT or Mama Melrose’s at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Your sports loving Dad might want to grab a bite at the ESPN Club, or maybe he’d like something a bit more adventurous like Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.  From Seafood to Swahili – your Dad will eat like a king at Walt Disney World on Father’s Day!

And Now For Something Completely Different

If your Dad is anything like the one I have for my kids, he doesn’t ask to do much for himself when we go to Disney World.  He likes to let the kids and I choose events or activities, and as a result, we’ve done tea at the Grand Floridian (which our Dad loves, by the way); Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique; and princess breakfasts.  But there are some special things your Dad can do that you might not know about!

How about a chance to dive at EPCOT?  Or maybe your Dad is a train buff and would enjoy the Magic Behind the Steam Trains tour at the Magic Kingdom.  Had Dad always wanted to try a Segway?  They’ve got tours for that!

If your Dad likes to be front and center as opposed to behind the scenes, take him over to the Pirates League at the Magic Kingdom, where he can get made over as a scary pirate!


And if pirates are his thing, celebrate his evening with a Pirates and Pals Fireworks Voyage!  Dad will enjoy snacks at the Contemporary Resort, then a front row, lagoon view seat for the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom!  What a way to end an awesome Father’s Day!

There really is something special for every Dad at Walt Disney World.  Whether it’s a round of golf, water sports, a massage, or taking in a ball game at Wide World of Sports, your Dad will love Walt Disney World for Father’s Day!  Make this the year he gets that treat!

Frugal Christmas Gifts for Your Husband – Avoid Giving Another Tie!

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Let’s face it.  He’s the one person in your life you know better than anyone else. So why are you stumped at Christmas time?  You should instinctively know what to get him, right?

Well, it’s not always the case in my house.  While there are some things that scream “perfect gift” for my husband, they usually scream at someone else rather than at me.  Like the electric nose hair trimmers.  Or the audio books gift certificate.  I usually scratch my head and ask “Why didn’t I think of that?”

And that’s because I am trying to find the not so practical on a budget.  Would he like the 52″ flat panel TV, so he could see Peter Griffith’s nose hairs?  Sure he would.  I’d like to look like Heidi Klum, too.  We can see how that worked out.

So, for the man in your life who doesn’t want another tie, another pair of Simpsons boxer shorts, or anything that you find in the $10 Christmas gift display at Target, here are some thoughts.

The Homemade Coupon Book – Go ahead and laugh.  I think this may have been the most popular gift I ever gave my husband.  You can fill it with practical things if you have a practical guy – like a coupon for you to take the trash out one week, or you’ll take the car in for an oil change.  Or you can fill it with things that benefit you – like a date night that you do all the planning for, including lining up a sitter.  My husband prefers the coupons that offer back rubs and foot massages, which usually works out well for me as well, as he often reciprocates!

Something from the Kids – There are some adorable things your kids can make for dad!  How about a t-shirt with your kids painted footprints on it, with the words “My Kids Walk All Over Me” written on it?  Or a t-shirt with their hand prints and their names that says “Daddy’s Little Helpers” or “Best Dad – Hands Down”.

Never under estimate the power of baked goods.  The dad in our house would be thrilled with some white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.  They are by far his favorite, and the bonus here is that he’ll share them with the kids.  It’s a win/win!

Other options are plans for an inexpensive day out.  Take dad to mini-golf and for an ice cream, or take the football to the park and treat him to a hot dog after a game of catch.

Dad will be thrilled to have a gift that won’t take up space in his closet or collect dust on his desk, but he’ll be even happier that you’ve kept the budget in mind!