Finding a New Balance at Disneyland

25 years ago…15 years ago…even 3 years ago, our approach to a theme park vacation resembled a battle plan.  We (whether there were 2, 3, 4, or 5 of us) were at the park gate by opening and we pushed ourselves all day.  Our goal:  to maximize time for rides, shows, and sometimes even parades until it was time to leave, often after the fireworks.  Then I would usually carry whoever had fallen asleep from the shuttle bus back to our room.  Sounds relaxing?  Of course not.  Even though we had a GREAT time, afterwards we needed a vacation to recover from our vacation.


Checking out the map

Now the kids are 18, 15, and 11.  And I’ve been making a conscious effort to slow down, to appreciate more & chase less.  So when Mrs. DadKnowsBetter was invited to attend this year’s Disney Social Media Moms Conference at Disneyland, it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up.  The conference was set up to include a mix of participant activities, family activities, and free time.  Our plan:  Mrs. DKB would focus on all of the conference activities, and we would all be together for the family activities and for free time in the parks.  While she was conferencing, I would manage the herd.

We still got to the gates more or less at opening each morning.  But with 4 days to visit 2 parks, we tried a slower, more comfortable pace.  For the first time ever, we even went to the room one afternoon for re-charge time before heading back to the park for the evening.

I am in no rush for my kids to get older–something upon which I am reflecting quite a lot with only a few months before our oldest heads off to college later this year–but that does not mean I can’t appreciate how much easier this trip to Disney was compared to travelling with younger kids.  Maybe the kids aren’t the only ones who are growing up….

Good times.



Note:  I did not receive any compensation or consideration related to any part of this post.  Mrs. DKB paid the standard registration fees to participate in the DisneySMMoms Conference; the rest of us accompanied her to Disneyland from April 10-14, 2014 at our own expense.

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Filed under Blogging, Dad Takes A Break, Places to Go, Vacation & Travel

Whose Cello Is It, Anyway?


Photo credit: Turidoth / Foter / CC BY-SA

I don’t actually play the cello.  I’ve never had a lesson.  I have experimented with the bow once or twice, but that’s it.  The piano is actually my just-slightly-less-portable instrument.  (Our county’s school buses do not allow large instruments due to space and safety, so pardon the attempted humor.  We view Mr. Cello as a 6th member of the family.)

Now, my son?  HE plays the cello.  In my dad-opinion he plays pretty well, and he says he enjoys it.  And, to be clear, I 100% enjoy listening to him practice.  He has plenty to learn, but a little of the boy’s cello brings a bit of peace to my day.

Our problem is the classic parent-child instrument practice grappling along the lines of “It’s time to practice!” leading to “In a little while” or “Just 20 minutes, right?” or “We had strings in school today, so I don’t need to” or……

So tonight I brought the boy to an important crossroad:  It’s up to you.  You start middle school next year, and it’s time for you to decide whether you want to play the cello or stop the cello; there’s no more saying ‘Yes I do!’ but showing ‘I want to get good but I’m not all that interested in doing what it takes to get there.’

He doesn’t need to TELL me what he wants to do.  He’ll show me.  And either way, it’s OK.  Mr. Cello is now a hassle-free topic.  And that brings a little more peace.

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Filed under Activities & Sports, Finding Peace, School, Transitions

We Know Snow Days

Living in Maryland, in a typical year we have 2 or 3 days when our local schools are closed due to snow.  In rare, disappointing years, we have none.  But every few years the snow days just keep coming.  This has been one of those years!  (Note my exceedingly rare use of an exclamation point…..)

Personally, both as an educator and as a dad, I welcome the snow days…at least until we use up the number allowed for in the school calendar and face sacrificing 80 degree June days to make up the time.  Sleeping a little later than usual.  Slowing down a little for a day or two without homework, practices, or other evening activities.  Getting outside to build snowmen or sled.  All of these strike me as a healthy change of pace for my students, for my own children, and even for Mrs. DKB and myself.

This year the timing of one storm was perfect, giving us two days at home during the Winter Olympics, and my 10 year old and I were inspired to create our own skeleton-ish experience.  [Apologies for the rotation of the video.  I'm looking at this as a learning experience.]  

I will miss these days now and then later in the year.  Not necessarily on one of those 80 degree days, but certainly at other times.  Good times.

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Filed under Appreciation, Dad Takes A Break, Living Well