Sunday, November 14, 2010

Preparing for Summer

By NicoleMarie

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “preparing for winter?” When I hear it, I have visions of Ma and Pa on Little House on the Prairie. Good ole Charles busts into the warm house, snow and wind coming in all around him, and he slams the door closed against the wind and smiles at Caroline. (I loved me some Michael Landon!) She has a hot meal waiting and a warm fire burning in the fireplace. Mary and Laura sit down with their Ma and Pa and eat some dinner from the crops that they grew and put away last summer. Everyone is happy and healthy because the family prepared for winter.

At my house, of course, it doesn’t really go down quite like that. Here, preparing for winter means we turn on the heat for the first time – usually in November – and wait with bated breath, praying we feel some warm air coming from the vent. If we don’t, we sleep cold that night and get the repair man over the next day. I shop at the grocery store for our winter meals, and the mall for our warm clothes. On an “as needed” basis. Except for the slight change in temps, winter is pretty much business as usual in Macon. In other words, there’s not much to “preparing for winter” around here.

But “preparing" for SUMMER? Now that’s a concept I can understand. Thinking about summer vacations, sleeping late, hot weather and humidity is easy stuff in February. It can’t get here soon enough when the trees are bare, the temps are chilly and the grass is dead. And preparing for summer at Disney World? Well, that’s even better.

I know I’ve already gotten us to Disney World in this trip report, but you’re gonna have to put it in reverse and work with me for this installment, okay?

Back up to February in Georgia, and lo and behold, Macon is getting some snow. It happened late one Friday afternoon in mid-February, and for about 18 hours, it was pure giddiness at the NM house.

To add validity to the “wintery-ness” of the situation, I have provided some pictures of said event for your viewing pleasure. (If there was EVER any doubt that we’re rednecks, it’s about to be removed. I’m sure there wasn’t, but just in case…)

Here’s what happens when the first flakes start falling from the sky. All the neighborhood kids end up in our yard bringing anything that will work for a sled. Nevermind that there’s not really any snow on the ground. And yes, the NMs are the little dorks with the laundry baskets. I’ve since heard I should have sprayed the bottoms of the baskets with Pam.

It’s obvious the sleds were a bust – because of that whole “no snow on the ground” thing – so let’s do what we do in nice weather: swing. Somehow, it’s more fun with snow hitting us in the face.

Finally, we get a little bit of accumulation, and the little NMs make a shout-out to The Mouse. Let’s call her Poly Minnie since she’s wearing pink Mouse ears from the Poly.

The sun finally sets, and with the promise of a teency bit more accumulation during the night, the little NMs head off to bed with visions of sledding in their sweet little heads.

Morning dawns and it’s actually very beautiful. I take a few pictures from the warm safety of my dining room and kitchen windows, and before too long, the kids are awake and ready to ride.

Oops. Doesn’t really work any better this morning. I can’t imagine why.

(This sad sledding sight is why the NM family boarded a plane to Lake Tahoe at Spring Break, while the rest of the world went South for some warm air. THIS is how you sled down a hill, peeps.)

Hmmmm. I’ve moved around so much that you might not remember where you are. It’s February 13th, a snowy morning in Macon, and I’m curled up in front of the fire with my laptop.

Preparing for summer.

How do you prepare for summer? Well, if you’re going to Disney World over the busiest week of the already busy summer, and there’s an opportunity to score some VIP Fastpasses that might make your park touring a little bit better, THAT’S how you prepare for summer. You get busy on that opportunity.

Through some conversations with LaLa, and then subsequent research on the Disney World website and the Disboards, I found out about a volunteer opportunity that was in the Macon area and would work for my family: Project Linus. As LaLa has already explained, it’s making blankets that will be given to children during a time of crisis. Not only did it appeal to my “sewing” side, (yes, I own a sewing machine and I know how to use it!) it was one of very few opportunities that accepted volunteer children as young as my 7 year old son.

Within a couple of hours, I had spoken with the Project Linus coordinator in Macon, and I had my marching orders for 8 blankets. The only problem? They had to be turned in by tomorrow.

Say what you want about the DIS, but there was a whole thread devoted to making no-sew fleece blankets, and I was sure that the NMs could knock this project out on this cold, snowy afternoon.

I took off to Walmart, bought the fabric for my eight blankets, came home and got to work. The NM Family Assembly Line didn’t really take off at my house, but my daughter and I got it done in one afternoon.

By the next day, the snow had melted, we had gone to church, we’d watched my son’s ball game, and we were within minutes of missing our “due date” for the blankets. We pulled into the driveway of a tiny little house in Macon. The Project Linus coordinator was a grandmotherly woman whose ENTIRE HOUSE was filled with stacks of blankets. The Disney partnership had given her more press than she had ever experienced. Blankets were everywhere! There wasn’t a single place to sit. This sweet woman and her husband welcomed us into their home, took our information, and shared with us a little bit about Project Linus. They were extremely grateful for the volunteers that Disney’s promotion had brought their way, and they congratulated my kids on their upcoming trip to Disney World. (My kids were – thankfully – gracious and did not say this was their 13th trip in five years.)

We left the Project Linus house excited and thankful. It was fun to prepare for summer in the middle of February. It was even more fun to do it in a way that wasn’t totally self-serving.

I can’t imagine how many people were blessed by the GAD promotion. The house I went into was filled to the brim with blankets for hurting kids in Middle Georgia. And that was just one project of many, in just in my area. These things went on all over the country. I think the whole promotion was a great idea.

An idea that ended up being REALLY great once summer finally came and we were hanging here.

With these crowds.

With VIP Fastpasses in our pockets. Those Fastpasses made the difference in our trip. We rode twice as many rides as we would have without them, and our pace was much more relaxed.

Yes, we prepared for summer. Who doesn’t want to do that? It was worth every minute.


  1. Are you kidding me?! It's 3:00 in the afternoon, west coast time and I'm the first one posting a comment?! What's up with THAT?!!

    I'm sure LaLa will come along eventually and try to one up my comments, but she'll never top me being first!

    I have a hard time believing y'all are rednecks. White trash I can believe. But not rednecks.

    Also, if it ever snows in Macon again, bear in mind that a Hefty bag can be your friend.

    Actually, a Hefty bag can be your friend in a lot of situations.

    Just ask Ashclan.

    Finally, the picture of the castle and fireworks: one of the best I've ever seen. Couldn't top that if I tried.


  2. Love the redneck sledding. That was awesome! If I ever see snow forecast for Macon, I know where to go for the all the action.

    I have to agree with Z on the castle photo. That was top notch NM! FANTASTIC job!

    Also great job on the GAD project. I hope Disney decides to do that one again.

    Are you sure you and LaLa aren't actually the same person? You seem to have a lot of overlap.

    I'm just saying.

  3. GB sad: I have to agree with Z on the castle photo. That was top notch NM! FANTASTIC job!

    I've taken better.

    NM: You should've just saved yourself some time, typed two simple words for this installment and been done with it. Because, really, "ME TOO" just about says it all, doesn't it?

    Heh Heh.

    Maybe not.

    I loved this installment because it gave us a little glimpse of life with the NMs outside of Disney. But mostly I loved the snowman and the redneck laundry baskets. If there was ever any doubt before, that sealed the deal...the NMs are OUR KIND OF FOLKS. Looks like yall had a great time sucking every bit of fun that you could out of that snowfall. Glad yall were able to get 'er done and take advantage of the GAD deal too. That one rocked!

    Keep bringing it, girl. Can't wait to see what's next on the horizon for the NMs!

  4. I love your pictures of the castle! Great shots. I live in Georgia as well, further north than you are. I remember that snow day last year. Never thought about using a laundry basket. My boys, 3 and 5 years old, and I used an old real estate for sale sign of mine to sled down our hill. No need to grease that thing, it was hard to grip but the best sled I've ever used. And, though I've done well in real estate, that afternoon was the best use of that sign I've ever had.

  5. ZZUB, thank you for coming to the rescue of the DEADEST BLOG POST TO HIT ZZUBWORLD!!!! I mean, I know that MY Give-A-Day post was nowhere near as good as LaLas, but that's only because she plagiarized me and got here first. She is SUCH A ONE-UPPER!!!!!

    Thanks for the props on the castle shots, y'all. I actually didn't take them on this trip, and looking back on my photo info, it appears they are from September of 2007.

    I had a good time going through that album looking for some good Castle shots. I found some hilarious pictures of me and a friend wondering if we could be any hotter. That made me laugh. Boy, was it hot that year!

    GB and LaLa - yes, we are full on rednecks, but that's nothing new to the two of you. And La, we are your kind of folks. In fact, we're even better than your kind.

    Irene! Hello! Another GA girl, huh? But are you a Dawg fan? Not that it's fun to admit it this year, but I will always be loyal. Although I think for the first time ever, I will be hollering ROLL TIDE!!!! next weekend.

    Thanks for stopping by, y'all - hope everybody has a good one.

    And for old times' sake, it's rainy and dreary here in the Mactown today. Great day to be lazy. Hi ZZUB!!!

  6. NM wrote, " I found some hilarious pictures of me and a friend wondering if we could be any hotter."

    It's not possible to be any hotter than the hottest couple ever!

    Barack and Michelle Obama! They are RED HOT!

    Is that racist?

    If it is, than I'm sure La2 will come spew a fountain of racial epithets. She's such a one upper, she's twice as racist as any ol' redneck.


  7. Yep....that sure is one nice looking castle picture.

  8. NM,
    Love the redneck sled. I remember that snow storm. We got 7 inches of snow in Columbia that day….7!!! It was very pretty…and peaceful…and surreal. For a day. Then it was gone. Like Obama’s bipartisanship.

    How did you get 8 blankets done in one day! That is impressive. Not that I have even made a blanket before. Mrs. Uncle Goofy says it makes your fingers like pin cushions. Doesn’t sound like fun. Good for you though devoting some time in service to others.

    Nice to see the little NMs having fun outside the World. Way cool pictures of the castle.

    Uncle Goofy

  9. Hey NM. Sorry I'm late. Figured I'd give my "first in" shot to someone else, then the week got away from me.

    I remember seeing those pathetic, oh sorry, awesome snow pictures back when they happened. We need to get your kids, and Frick's, up here to the Northeast in the wintertime one of these days. Though I suppose your trip to Tahoe was even better. We actually didn't even get too much snow last winter. Unlike Philly and DC. The storms all seemed to go just south of us.

    Z, I don't get the Hefty bag comment. Unless it has something to do with Take Out the Trash Day.

    Yes, the castle photos were great. Was your camera on top of your head for that Wishes shot?

    And no, you couldn't be any hotter.

    P.S. Happy birthday to your girl today!!! You are heading awfully close to teenager-hood. BEWARE!!!

  10. First before I forget...

    "By the next day, the snow had melted, we had gone to church, we’d watched my son’s ball game."

    I'm DED. Snow and baseball in one sentence.

    Only in the South!

    Next time try cookie sheets. Or trays. Traybogining is what it's called up here....could be an Olympic sport one day.

    Loved all the pic's NM. Especially the ice covered Georgia pines. The castle one was loverly too!

    GAD was the greatest. Can't say enough about those FP's!

  11. Hey Uncle G! 7 inches, huh? Yeah, we could do some serious sledding on that! Laundry baskets and all! The blankets weren't hard at all - a little time consuming, but we chatted and listened to tunes and were done in no time. Thanks for stopping in - it's good to see ya!

    Ash, you are killin' me. We know it's pathetic. We fully embrace it as the rednecks that we are. And girl, we do need to get up your way sometime. If not for snow, to catch some Red Sox baseball! Thanks for ALWAYS dropping a line to let me know you're reading. You are the most faithful TR reader EVER! :)

    And so are you, YAK! It's always fun to see you stop by. Yep, sledding on Saturday afternoon and baseball on Sunday afternoon. That's how we roll. We probably hopped in the pool by the next weekend. ;) Thanks for posting, y'all!


  12. NM what a neat little chapter we've got here! I didn't jump on the GAD deal because I didn't think we were going and after hearing what you and La had to say about those GAD FP's I'm kicking myself. Sounds sweet!

    Love the redneck snow pics. Did you all put zip lock baggies on your shoes and gloves too to 'waterproof' them? I remember when my dad would spray me from head to toe with Scotch Guard so my clothes would repel water. I come from a long line of rednecks obviously.