Snow White’s Awesome Adventure

This is a long story, but you will enjoy it. What awesome parents this young man has, and what a nice thing the Disney World staff did for him!

By way of background, I should point out that our hero is autistic, he loves the Snow White’s Scary Adventure ride, and had ridden it literally hundreds of times when his family learned WDW was closing it to make way for new attractions.

Link to the first post. You can navigate from there. The excerpt below is from part 2. The website it is from is Shmoolok.com.

So there we were on Thursday night, just after 7pm and being led by Stacey and a couple other cast members to stand over in front of The Friar’s Nook. Ben was in a happy mood, but kind of pulling us back over towards SWSA. He was having the time of his life, and wanted to get right back to it. After a few short minutes of waiting, a door opened and out came Snow White herself to come talk to Ben. All of a sudden, Ben got a huge smile on his face and started laughing hysterically. He was positively transfixed. That Kodak moment that I warned Stacey not to expect? Oh yeah, it was there in spades.

Ben meets Snow White.

Snow White continued to talk to him as Ben very shyly took her hand, and then laughed some more. It was an almost drunken laugh, the laugh you hear from a baby when you play peek-a-boo for too long and they drift into that delirious-happy state. As Snow White talked to him about the ride, and about all of the dwarfs, Ben seemed to be absolutely glowing with joy. A crowd began to gather behind him, and I had to take off my glasses and dry my eyes. I can assure you that I am the manliest of men, and I am positive it was just allergies or perhaps a speck of dust that got in my eye. Whatever it was, it seemed to be spreading to everyone nearby. Not a dry eye in the house.

This went on for several minutes and Snow White never let up, never broke character even for a moment. She knew how many times Ben had been on her ride, she knew what his favorite moments in the ride were, and most of all she knew how to keep him engaged and joyously happy. Eventually she invited Ben to go on the ride with her, and he gleefully agreed…

The poor boy was fully twitterpated.

Snow White gasps as the Witch is struck by lightning. Ben was pretty stricken as well.

I first read about this on Boing Boing!

Potty Boot Camp: Graduation

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We’re concerned with the one on the right. Note to self: DUST MANTLE!

You may remember that not so long ago, we were in the midst of an intense potty bootcamp session and I was blogging desperately, asking for advice, almost certain my otherwise well-adjusted child would go to Harvard wearing Depends and baffling her therapist. The great advice I did get was:

  • Lots of food and water, treats,whatever fills em up!
  • Nice new undies.
  • Rewards. Lollipops, specifically Dum Dums worked for us because they are cheap, small, and not filling.
  • A few toys for poop rewards. DVDs and art supplies work too because you’ll be at home for a couple days!
  • Do not budge. Do not give them diapers. Let it happen. Whatever ‘it’ happens to be.

I won’t detail the entire series of events, but it was not very tough the final go round. We had to lay off and just remove the diaper, and say you can go on the floor/in your pants, my dear, or in the toilet. And be chill about it and help her in a non-judgmental way to do whatever she needs to do to get there. She basically had to decide it was time, and she did. Huge milestone. We went right into overnights without a single accident! Talk about being ready.

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The key to winning is FOCUS!

Anyway, thanks for all the tips!

What a lovely mom, a strong kid, a cool blog! This one’s a ‘must subscribe.’ Rock on CJ!

Raising My Rainbow

Give C.J. a theme and he will run with it.  This week had him running for five days straight.

It was the last week of school and the Orange County Mommy Mafia was out in full force giving each day a theme and a party and a sense of panic that had me constantly feeling like I was forgetting some important detail.  They scuttled about campus in their Lululemon yoga pants, clutching their stainless steel commuter mugs filled with the organic coffee they picked up at Trader Joe’s over the weekend while they were loading up on supplies for the class ice cream social, board game mixer, pizza party, beach blanket BBQ, popcorn and movie mid-day madness and bubble blowing farewell ceremony.  I watched them all from the comfort of my dirty car, while wearing my work pants that give me a severe muffin top and drinking yesterday’s coffee that…

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Potty Boot Camp: Third Attempt

Exchange Rates.

Tonight at 5pm begins our third weekend-long attempt at Potty Bootcamp. For the uninitiated, this is were you hunker down at home, take off the diaper and go to the potty on the regular until something actually happens into the toilet. I’ve read a little about it… and we’ve gotten good tips from Dr. Grandma, and friends. I’ll do a little more research today. I’m hoping readers might give me tips.

Here’s the long and short of it. Due to moving, new twin siblings, and so forth, this has been a bit of an arduous process. For months we encountered steadfast and unwavering resistance to the very idea of using the potty. Nothing would convince her, not even “Elmo’s Potty Time. ” (Highly recommended, by the way.)  Her mother and I were at our wit’s end.

Just when it seemed our otherwise intelligent and sensitive daughter would attend college wearing Pampers Cruisers Size 18, and things looked at their darkest, suddenly the light broke through the clouds. We have recently had a handful of #1 successes, but no #2 successes. We are ready to try Boot Camp again.

Not like this, though.

We have 2 potties. One of them, the pink plastic princess crapper, plays an 8-bit royal fanfare when you pee on it. We have rewards at the ready for pooping-a couple of Playmobile mermaids and a couple of Wallace and Gromit DVDs. We have Mike-and-Ikes and Skittles (“fruit M&Ms”) for peeing rewards.  We have a sticker chart. There are 7 stickers on it so far. Two from last night alone! Continue reading

A Caterpillar in the Craft Corner

Sneak peek!

I did this simple little craft with my mom when I was a kid. I resisted googling it and copying some other schlub’s version, in order to preserve the glorious pure beauty of shared parental-child intergenerational artistic expression (wipes tear). Either that, or it sucks, and I (and you, hopefully) remain blissfully unaware other much better versions of this craft how-to out there on the tubes. But, I ask you- are there more SARCASTIC ones? I think not. That is my new niche- sarcastic craft how-to’s for toddlers. I am certain to make millions.

Anyway, let’s make sure you are prepared ahead of time before you start saying UM KIDDIES LETS MAKE A CRAFT. Unless you WANT to frantically look for pipecleaners while your kid whines about what is the craft and what are you looking for Dad and can we put the eyes on the cat? No- set all that craft stuff up the night before or while they are out in the yard up to shenanigans. Then you can jump right in when it’s time.

The makings of a… Caterpillar!

Continue reading

Home Movie Tips 2: Carousel Films

Part two in this series of “how to” videos by a person who really doesn’t much know what they are doing. The result is something EASY for you to do, too! Woo hoo! And it actually does work…

…or it doesn’t.

Here are two of my own attempts to make a cute Carousel-themed home movie. One of them succeeds pretty well, and the other is terrible.

Look, Father! A Carousel!

Grab the Popped-Corn!

There are a few easy tricks and techniques you can use to suggest silent films of the 1930’s style. Bullet points, anyone?

  • A cherubic child, doing cute, olde timey stuff. Favorite subjects include Carousels, ice cream at the seaside, 4th of July Parades, petting puppy dogs, playing stick-and-hoop, voting for Taft, stuff like that. Avoid Justin Beiber concerts for this style of video. Though we will be muting the sound, so…
  • If you are going on a carousel,you may have to shoot it WHILE YOU HOLD THE KID. Be prepared. It’s not easy. Or you can get a second adult on, but you will need to pay for them. Shooting carousel footage from the sidelines results in a pretty terrible movie, as you will see in our second example.
  • Black and white or sepia tone on all shots and titles. I usually prefer B&W, but try both.
  • Film grain or age effect. These come prepackaged in your computer’s video editing software, probably. Experiment with different ones until you get something convincing. NOTE: I should have used the grain and effect on the dialogue text and the frame well, for consistency.
  • Sound. Mute the sound from the video, and then use something old time-y and cute or dramatic. Here we have incidental music from The Little Rascals short, played by The Beau Hunks. Solo piano works well too, as it mimics the cinema players of the time.
  • Get a bunch of shots, even if they are short ones. Telling a story is key, however basic (We arrive, we look at stuff, we leave.) Try and get shots of your arrival, establishing shots of a location when you get there, and shots of you leaving. A napping child, happily exhausted, is a classic final shot. Shoot each image for longer than you think you need, to make it easier to edit later.
  • You’ll need a silent movie frame for your dialogue. Here’s one I found on a message board, it’s the one I used in the video below. Click the photo below to link to the full-sized version. Basically you put it in your movie as you would a photo, and then put your dialogue on top of the photo as a centered subtitle, in a vintage font. Dialogue should be corny as all get out, of course.

USE ME!

  • No fades or effects on the edits. Use all quick cuts, and make some of them jarring!
  • End credits are useful to tag your film with the people’s names, the date, the place. Who know how long your film will survive? If your grandchildren are able to watch it, they will appreciate having that information.
  • And, of course, my #1 tip- keep it to the length of one short song, if at all possible.

Continue reading

Home Movie Tips: Olde Cape Cod

When I edit together a home video, I strive for something charming and watchable. A classic format of home movies- the super-8 looking, Wonder Years-esque style of the previous generation or two- is a fun and appealing choice. Creating a video like this will allow you to consolidate a bunch of little clips into something watchable which you can easily share with friends and relatives and save for your kids to watch as they get older. It’s also a great gift for your spouse (or the grandparents) which is affordable, personal and special.

Here are a few easily executed characteristics you can use to give your short film a bit of personality.

  • Good vintage music to fit the mood, and a mute on the original sound. A single, short song also limits you to a digestible and easily watchable length film. Luckily, older songs tend to clock in at shorter lengths
  • A super-8/ film grain effect, and film defect effects if you can manage them.
  • Cute, appealing, classic shots. Get people to wave at the camera, if you can. It adds a real smile factor. Once you edit one together, you will have a sense of what kinds of shots you need for your next home movie project.

In the example below, I allowed some priceless footage of Nana reading a story to kick things off. I thought it worth keeping for the kids. By the time we are 20 seconds in, we are in super 8 mode.