All posts by Tina

Beginning the New Year Recovering

No doubt there are many who are recovering today, the first day of 2016, after a long night of celebrating the old and ringing in the new. There are those nursing a hangover, while others are simply catching up on some much needed sleep lost during the holiday season.  However, my particular recovery is a bit different and more frustrating for me as I am lying on the couch having just undergone abdominal surgery.   I said goodbye to 2015 and welcomed 2016 barely awake, pumped up on anti-inflammatory medications and hoping that I can coherently make some resolutions in order to feel as though I started the New Year off on the right foot.

photo taken by B.J. Turley
photo taken by B.J. Turley

What adds to the excitement of the story is that our firstborn son was born on New Year’s Eve, so celebrating this holiday has not been the same since 1999.   I love remembering his arrival, the last baby born in the 1900s in our particular hospital, and I love making his day memorable and unforgettable.  At the same time, while I’m constantly battling the need to ensure his celebration is magical,  I’m also trying to ensure that I am closing the book correctly for the year ending and starting the new book with the best opening line possible.

Even facing the above circumstances, however, I still managed to toast the New Year with my three boys, hubby and Ryan Seacrest last night, as well as resolve this morning that I truly need to do a few things differently in 2016.   The past 365 days were riddled with stress and I don’t want this year to carry the same emotional burden (though, mind you, I know my situation is far better than those many of my friends had to face).  Oh, there were amazing moments and most of those belong to my boys (for which I am beyond grateful).  I, like many others, simply like to look at the first day of a new year as a new start.  What can be improved upon? What can be changed? What differences can be made?  Well, first and foremost, I need to recover physically and improve upon myself health-wise.  Though this surgery was more of an inherited problem that was unfortunately inevitable, I still recognize that there are things I need to do better in order to continue making those impressionable footprints with my family.  I also realize that I need to recover from my slump and get back into writing.   An unexpected and encouraging word just as the year was closing confirmed this even more.   I also feel that I need to reengage with friends I have made over the last year or two that have truly had an impact in my life, as well as those I have known for years that I’ve allowed distance and time to separate from me.   Oh, the list goes on and on…….I’m sure yours does, as well.

But for now, I simply need to recover.   I will get absolutely nowhere if I do not allow myself the opportunity to sit back, relax, breathe and allow my body and mind to heal from the recent trauma it incurred.   No, that’s not me.  I’m a go-getter, a must-do type of person.  This being held hostage on my livingroom furniture is driving me stir-crazy.  Of course, perhaps this is how I need to see my 2016.   Perhaps 2016 is simply going to be my Year of Recovery.

Until I am able to take my next step…

A Trek in Wild Africa

From the desk of Aaryn…

Aaryn being geared up ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown
Aaryn being geared up ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown

Our family has been to Walt Disney World quite a number of times since 2007.   Our most recent trip took place in August 2015.   As usual, the entire family had a fantastic time, yet my experience was even better.  As a late birthday present, my mother took me on a certain tour in Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park called the Wild Africa Trek.  It was a behind-the-scenes look at Kilimanjaro Safari, the popular Walt Disney World attraction that takes you on a bumpy ride through some of Africa’s most beautiful savannas.  The tour was three hours long and became the best three hours of my life.

Hans, the Hippo - taken by Disney PhotoPass Photographer
Hans, the Hippo – taken by Disney PhotoPass Photographer

Ear pieces were given to each of us as we began our adventure so that, no matter where we were, we could hear the guides talk about the animals and environment.  The tour provided wonderful up-close views of some of the safari’s best animals.  We saw crocodiles, zebras, giraffes, and even got to see a hippo eat!

First of two rope bridges on the Wild Africa Trek ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown
First of two rope bridges on the Wild Africa Trek ~ photo taken by T.M. Brown

Another great part was the rope bridge. There were two and one spanned a small pond filled with crocodiles, making you feel as if you could fall at any moment.  The bridge was so realistic that there were actually missing boards!  Of course, for safety reasons, all trekkers wear clips that are attached to lines above them that keep them from falling.  My mom seemed a little nervous as she crossed.  Me?  Not so much.

After an hour and a half of watching animals, it was time to eat! Depending on what tour you took, morning or afternoon, you either get breakfast or lunch.  We had lunch and I have to say it was amazing!  The food was delicious and, not to mention, they had my favorite drink, Jungle juice, a blend of several fruit juices.

(Photos above include Jungle Juice on the right.  The center photo is chicken curry salad, fresh fruit marinated in mint and ginger, and air-dried beef and prosciutto.  The last picture on the right is salmon roulade with dill, sun-dried tomato hummus with pita, and marinated tandoori shrimp ~ all photos taken by my mom, T.M. Brown)

After we ate, we saw several more animals before the trek ended. We handed in our equipment, personally selected a charity for a portion of our tour costs to fund, and received a special PhotoPass that had hundreds of pictures taken by the Cast Members during the trip.   All in all, the tour was probably my favorite experience at Walt Disney World.

Thanks for reading and be sure to read my next blog, Hoop-Dee-Do, here’s my review!

See you next step,


PS – check out these great Cast Members!  Paola, Bryn and Karen made the tour even better!

Paola and Bryn - Wild Africa Trek tour guides Karen - CM Wild Africa Trek tour guide