WDW, Then and Now

Posted by Shelley on Dec 28, 2009 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley

Mike’s parents gave the gift of Walt Disney World for Christmas!  Except we are here for New Years 2010!  ¡Felíz año nuevo!

The first time I EVER came to Disney World was in a modified “woody” buick station wagon that we bought at the square Don Drennen dealership, which will only mean something to you B’ham folks.  I think it was 1982.  That might have been the 10 year WDW anniversary?

We stayed in the Contemporary, got our picture made at the Old Timey Photography Studio on Main Street…. and here’s the best part, I brought a friend with me!  Leah and I slept in the back of the station wagon, this was long before the police actually stopped you because no one was wearing a seatbelt and the kids roamed free in the floorboard, backseat and frontseat of the car.  Yes, that was LOOOOONNNNNNGGGGGGG time ago.

Mom and Dad planned several trips to Disney when I was growing up.  I am too tired to remember them all, but I can think  of the trip with Leah, the trip with Stacey when she came for the first time and the trip with Kelsey when she came for the first time.  We have incredibly cute pictures from the trip with Stacey, she was such a doll, with all her curls and around 3 years old too.  Kelsey came when she was 5 too.  I loved every minute of that trip, watching here take it all in.  Which means those magical ages of 3-5 years old, when you *believe* everything about WDW, are truly priceless.  I am noticing on this trip that you totally outgrow that by the age of 10.

I have great memories of highschool band trips to WDW, marching and performing in both Epcot and the Magic Kingdom.  Not to mention the first trip I took with Mike, a couple of years after we got married and Canon’s first trip in 2006.  I think we certainly have paid someone’s salary at Disney, throughout the course of these trips.

We started our week yesterday, with the 10 hour (12 hour with stops) drive from the ‘ham to the most magical place on earth.  I remember flying a couple of times, once on Eastern Airlines (am I dating myself or what?) and again when we brought Melodi for the first time in 2004.  We flew the straight shot flight out of B’ham and stayed at the Port Orleans Resort.  8 full days and Mike documented it very well in iPhoto.  She was 4 years old and I was 12 weeks PG with Canon.

But I digress.

I was preparing for our trip over the weekend, 24 hours after Christmas day, washing clothes and packing…making very last minute reservations for our early arrival since our resort reservations don’t happen til Wednesday and we got here Sunday night.  I don’t recommend this btw.  At least the part about last minute reservations.  After traveling 12 hours by car and then having some serious issues upon check-in due to…whatever you want to call it…not good.  But nothing really prepared for the emotional toll this would take on my brain.

I’ve mentioned several “firsts” here, my “first” trip, my sisters “first” trips, Melodi’s “first trip.”  This is my “first” trip to Disney World with my Dad being gone.  And that is a lot to process.

So, here is what I have thought about:

1)  Dad and Mom brought me here as a child.  And my “last” offiicial family (of origin) trip with them was to WDW in 1994.  I remember that week well b/c  I had just graduated from college.  I got a phone call the week we were here for an official job offer at WBRC.  I think the first person I told when I got the call was my Dad.  I took the job!

2)  They spent a heck of alot of money at the  Contemporary, the luau at the Polynesian, the downtown disney resorts, getting us here when Epcot first opened, and many, many other things I totally took forgranted.

3)  Pretty much everywhere I go in the Magic Kingdom or Epcot will hold a memory of my Dad.  Dang it, that just makes me want to cry.

He loved to bring us here.

Now I’m here with my kids and there are not enough electric outlets in this hotel room to re-charge all the electronic devices we brought on this trip.  A major criteria for choosing our hotel was if there was free (in room) internet connection.  And the Wal-Mart down the road is the exact equivalent to a 3rd world country (I know this because I lived in Guadalajara).  There are millions of people here and most of their currency is worth more than my American dollar.

So, that is, in a nutshell, the difference between then and now.  But in my heart there is so much more than that.


A Decade of Swapping Some Christmas Cookies

Posted by Shelley on Dec 23, 2009 in Real Life Stories, Uncensored Shelley, kids

Christmas Cookie Swap #10 happened at approximately 14:00 hours today.  From here on out we’ll take it up a notch around here and there will be more excitement than usual!  Our cookie swap means Christmas Eve is usually within 24-48 hours of the event.  Here we are!

When Melodi was born I wanted to have a tradition with her that would last longer than I would.  I mean, eventually I won’t be here anymore but she will and will hopefully carry on some of the things we did while she was growing up.  Up until recently I never really grasped that fact as the truth.  I’m here to tell you, it is the truth with a capital “T”.  We don’t live forever but our memories and traditions can.

So, my aunt gives me a Christmas book, a journal which records Christmas for the next 10 years.  This was in 1999.  We are 10 years later and it’s 2009 and this will be the last entry in this little book.  Where, oh where, does the time go?  Oh, I know.  It’s really not that fast.  In fact, it’s a long, slow process but that’s another post.

It’s so funny to look at this family Christmas book  b/c 1)  you can’t read my handwriting and 2)  I stopped journaling in it about  half way through.  That would be when Canon was born.  But I always recorded our cookie swaps and now have 10 years worth of them chronicled in the book.

Every year for our cookie swap I mailed out an invitation, created a “menu”, created fun cookies and anitcipated the day of the party.  Each year Melodi has taken on more responsiblity for the party, by addressing the envelopes, cleaning the bathroom, sweeping off the front porch and finally, baking the cookies.  This year she did all of that except address the envelopes.  Why not the envevlopes?  B/C there were no invitations.  This year you got an email.

She loves this tradition!  And I want her to have it long after I’m gone.  Which means Melodi, if you ever read this, please have the cookie party.  No matter what.  Life will change and be a little different, year after year.  But make room in your heart for our cookie swap.  And when I’m too old to participate, bring it to me at the old folks home.

And for those of you who know my incredible, has her act together daughter, know that she will.


Jingle Bell, Jingle Bells, Stumble all the Way

Posted by Shelley on Dec 16, 2009 in Uncensored Shelley

So here I am stumbling through Christmas.

It’s not all bad, but I’m here to tell you the Shaw family doesn’t have our Christmas cards in the mail yet.  Melodi is planning the cookie swap this year and I’m hoping Santa is real b/c I can’t find the children’s stockings and I’m not quite sure what thy are getting for Christmas.

As much as I want to “check out” it’s just not gonna happen.  For one thing, the kids only have one Christmas in which they are 5 and 10.  That is this year.  I can’t get it back.  So I will be engaged, realizing that these days are a gift and I don’t deserve them.  But in God’s grace he’s given them to me.  And I am obedient to enjoy them.

Secondly, I’m living and breathing and if Dad were here and in his right mind he’d say, “have Christmas!  be merry!” or something like that.

And thirdly, not that I need a third reason or anything, but I’ve been living my life like I’m going to have another Christmas.  And another.  And another.  But the reality is, I’m only promised this very moment I’ve been given.  Anything 60 seconds from now is a God thing.   So I had better stumble or whatever you want to call it through the next week.  Because it’s not guaranteed that I am going to have it again.  I’m just speaking the truth.  Ya’ll know I’m right.

In an effort to engage myself in the season I am going through old Christmas pictures.  I am scanning a few of them and putting them in an album on my facebook page.  Facebook gives me a place to compile some thoughts and ideas and pictures, that otherwise I may not ever get around to doing.  Some folks do this by scrapbooking or creating a Flicker account or blogging or by any other creative means the 21st century has given to us.  We do have many ways to store our memories now-a-days.  Makes me remember alot of things I thought I had forgot.

Oh what fun it is to ride… in a moment suspended in time… hey!


Once Upon a Time

Posted by Shelley on Dec 7, 2009 in Real Life Stories

There was a wardrobe.

And whenever Shelley felt like it she could jump in it and escape.

Into a world which was much different than the “real” one she found herself in.  (ended with a preposition, can’t help it).  She received the wardrobe as an inheritance of sorts.  Her dad’s Uncle Stacey had previously housed the wardrobe.  (I think I have this correct.)  But when he died, or his wife died, the house needed to be emptied and Shelley’s parents got the wardrobe.

The bedroom furniture Shelley had was among some of the very first furniture her parents acquired.  It was old, really old.  An antique when they bought it so that meant by the time Shelley had it it was antique x 100.  The bed was known as a “cannonball” style since on the headboard and footboard displayed these really big balls (if that makes any sense).  The chest of drawers were incredibly deep, the best ever.  They could hold lots of clothes and especially diaries.

It should be noted that the wardrobe was very small.  For clothing that is.  The left side had a bar which could hold hangers.  The right side had two drawers and some open storage.  When Shelley asked about it her mother explained that back in the olden days there weren’t any closets.  So, the wardrobe acted as a closet.  It is odd that the wardrobe could only hold like maybe 5 things.  But the chest of drawers could hold so much with those deep drawers.  Now modern society must rent storage units to house stuff because the closets and chest of drawers in their homes can’t hold it all.  Discuss amongst yourselves.

Shelley’s granddad decided to paint the bed, the chest of drawers and the wardrobe.  By the time Shelley was 10 and was in a new house she got the whole deal except for the vanity and mirror.  Somehow it didn’t get painted.  The only remant of that piece is the mirror and Shelley’s sister found it in the basement of her parents house a couple of decades later and decided to have it re-mirrored, or something like that.  Shelley’s sister now hangs it proudly in her master bedroom.

So, Shelley has the cannonball bed, the chest of drawers and the wardrobe, freshly painted a neutral  ivory color by her maternal grandfather.  She is 9 years old.

Back to the wardrobe.  It really was the vehicle that fueled her imagination.  She found that as hard as she tried she could never get past the back of the wardrobe.  Instead, it stayed firmly in tact and she remained a part of the world in which she had been born.  Secretly, Shelley thought, “dang it!”

But since necessity is the mother of all invention Shelley decided to invent games that started and ended with the wardrobe.  She did escape, mentally.  Never phsyically.  The hard parts of her existence stayed there but her imagination took her elsewhere.  It was an okay arrangement.

The wardrobe traveled on to another house.  Many years later it was inherited again.  Shelley decided that her daughter would have it.  An artist got hold of that piece of furniture and turned it into a masterpiece.  It became part of the nursery when her baby arrived.  Inscribed at the top of the piece are her daughter’s initials, “MJS” and birthdate.  Shelley officially tried to give it away.

However, due to space constraints,  it has wound up in Shelley’s laundry room.  Which makes sense.  Because she is forever trying to escape her present circumstances (and the laundry).  The wardrboe has remained quite present in Shelley’s grown up world.  She will let you know how that works out for her.

The Lion, The Witch, and Shelley's Wardrobe

The Lion, The Witch, and Shelley's Wardrobe

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