The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Decoding Disney: Planning Our Trip as a Beginner

When I was a kid, my family's trips to Disney were some of the most memorable times in my childhood. Maybe it's me, but I get all swept up in the magic... So I have been waiting for the right time to take my kids - when they would remember this expensive trip and could actually do a lot of the most popular attractions.

This spring break, we made *my dream* come true, but not without a lot of planning to make sure I got my money's worth we got our money's worth. Honestly, Nate and I joke about how you could take a whole class on Disney park essentials. THERE. IS. SO. MUCH.

Here is how I planned our Disney vacation with limited time and funds.

1. Do NOT re-invent the wheel. 
There are so many people who have already gotten Disney down to a science so I  definitely leaned on their knowledge - including one of Nate's coworkers who is a Disney pro - whom we texted while at the parks if we had questions.

Aladdin's carpets!

Here are some of the most helpful Disney travel blogs that I referred to over and over as I planned our trip:

The Disney Tourist:
- Best Rides in Magic Kingdom
- Best Rides in Animal Kingdom
- Best Rides in Epcot
- Ride Height Requirements

All Good in Mommyhood:
- Wait Less at Magic Kingdom

I'm actually pretty impressed with myself and my planning for our Animal Kingdom day.

2. Do NOT visit during peak times. 
We did (spring break) and the crowds were unbelievable. Your time of year also determines your ticket price. We still had a blast, but next time we will come during the "off season". This is a joke, because I don't think there is a Disney off season haha

But here is a good look at peak times for the parks to help you plan your trip:
Undercover Tourist: Peak times at Disney

3. Save money by staying off of the Disney property. 
Initially I was actually kind of bummed about this, but by the time we planned our trip (maybe 1 month ahead) EVERYTHING was booked on the Disney property. We actually ended up in an amazing 3 bedroom AirBnB for a fraction of what we would have paid at Disney that was 15 minutes away from the parks with traffic. It had a great view, pool, and gym so we didn't miss a beat. The perks of Disney property would be easier access to the parks (by bus or tram), round the clock meal service availability, and of course, being in the Disney magic 24/7. Maybe one day when I'm an attending... hahaha

4. Bring grandparents. 
Well on my budget they brought us...LOL My parents were in the park trenches with us, and we had a blast! This was clutch for having a back up plan if we were headed to a scary ride so that Nate and I didn't have to miss out.

Nate and I also went back out to Epcot after everyone else was exhausted from our day at Animal Kingdom. If you are traveling with little ones, the Park Hopper may be an unnecessary expense unless you have a sitter, because our kids were over it after one park. 

5. Download the DisneyGo app as soon as you get your tickets. 
It not only links your whole groups' tickets, it helps you get fast passes quickly, can manage dinner reservations, has park ours, can be your park map + itinerary, and helps you keep up with attraction wait times. They really did a great job with this...

6. Read up on Fast Passes and BOOK THEM EARLY. 
Below is a link to an explanation of Fast Passes, but not only is it nice to not have to wait in the long lines, but no matter how "mature" your child, Fast Passes help them not be so miserable. I think you can reserve them up to 30 days ahead of your trip. You get three in advance per day and then when you use those up, you can add them one at a time per person.

It works out best if you start with fast passes grouped earlier in the day.

Fastpass FAQs

We had an amazing spring break. But knowing what I know now, I can't wait to get us back and make our next trip even more memorable!





Saturday, April 7, 2018

Spring Break 2018: Johnsons Do Disney!

This year, our family went to Orlando for spring break!! This is like the first non-inside-North-Carolina-or-Visiting-Family vacation we have had since I started residency. Actually, since Nate and I had our one year anniversary trip in 2011...

We met my parents in Orlando and we stayed in an AirBnB minutes away from Disney. We ended up getting two dedicated days at the Parks, swimming, good eating, and tons of family time. It was a dream and just what I needed.

Monday...
We arrived after an overnight 9 hour drive. We had an awesome breakfast at a restaurant called KeKe's Breakfast Cafe and then met my parents at my grandpa's place while we waited for our AirBnB check in. My dad's dad travels to Florida every winter from Michigan and it was so nice to see him!

When it was time for check in, we were all so excited because the AirBnB spot was amazing! Message me if you want details.

We were exhausted though, so we got carryout dinner and fell asleep by the time Michigan was playing in the championship game. **Tough loss, but good season boys!**

Tuesday...
9AM crowds. 
We got up around 6:30AM and got to Magic Kingdom by 9AM. The weather got  hot quickly and THE. CROWDS. WERE. INSANE. By lunch time the kids were done with me, but we powered through. Thanks to Fast Passes and good food, we were able to ride/see:

1. Jungle Cruise *first ride and first fast pass, we were sold on walking straight to the front haha 

2. Enchanted Tiki Room 

3. Aladdin's Magic Carpets *followed by DoleWhip YUM!*



4. Festival of Fantasy Parade



5. Mickey's Philharmagic *A 90s kid's dream!!*

6. Prince Charming's Carousel

*Lunch at Pinocchio's Village Haus*

7. Dumbo the Flying Elephant




8. The Barnstormer

9. Magic Teacups 

10. It's a Small World

11. Tomorrowland PeopleMover

12. Space Mountain




13. Happily Ever After Fireworks Show 

We ended up leaving around 10:30PM and we were exhausted. Especially the kids. Nate and Izza complained about the heat, the lines, the most fun rides being too scary, and the fireworks being too loud...🙃 

They were on sensory overload by lunchtime each day. I snapped a special collection of photos featuring little Nate being over it. I think I'm going to call it, "next time, save your money, Mom..." hahaha




Wednesday...
We slept in and lounged by the pool. I got a work out in, but really I didn't need to because at Magic Kingdom we walked FIVE MILES.



At night we headed to Disney Springs for a Cuban themed Dinner at Bongos. So good!





Thursday...

So the newest and most talked about ride right now is Pandora: Flight of Passage. We could not get fast passes to this, so my plan was to get to it first thing. This meant we had to open the park. So we got up at 5AM and were at the gate by 7:15AM.

We were able to get done with the Flight of Passage ride by 8:30AM. The wait for the rest of the day was 3 hours. That was the best decision ever. That ride was probably one of the best rides any of us have ever been on. The kids, however, were scared. And said it was too loud :sigh:

Rest of the day, the weather was milder and the crowds were a little better until about 1PM, so we were able to ride/see:

1. Avatar: Flight of Passage



2. Avatar: Navi River Journey

3. Kilamanjaro Safari












4. Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail

*Lunch at Harambe Market*



5. Dinosaur 

6. It's Tough to Be a Bug

7. Festival of the Lion King



8. Expedition Everest 





After this, it was about 4:30PM and we headed back to our place. Isabelle slept the rest of the  night and Little Nate and my Mom watched Avatar. Big Nate and I went back out for a quick look at Epcot. I always thought it sounded boring, but it looked pretty cool!

Sadly, there wasn't enough time to check out the World Showcase, but we were able to check out Future World including the the Chevy Test Track and Soaring. It was also time for the annual flower festival which was gorgeous.





Friday...
We spent our last day in the sun appropriately with a marathon pool day and some awesome poolside grilling by Nate. Seriously, the AirBnB was bomb.



Saturday...
We hit the road back to reality.

It was a great week. I'm so thankful for this trip... Sunday night I head back to work and I think I'm recharged enough to finish out these last two months of residency!!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

::March Madness::

Hey Ya'll ;-)

Monday, I started my Consults rotation. This is the person that holds the GYN Consult pager for the hospital. We get all the Main Campus calls from the Emergency Department and inpatient services. I also get to do any GYN cases at Main that aren't cancer. We usually do all our scheduled benign GYN cases off campus at a smaller hospital.

This week, our service was consulted for things like ectopic pregnancies, lost IUDs, heavy periods, pediatric gynecology recommendations, early pregnancy, and post-menopausal bleeding. It was busy!

We will do surgeries as needed for GYN emergencies and take care of any GYN patient admitted to Main that is not on the Oncology service.

My hours are 7AM-6PM usually. I also get to hang out with the PGY3 for some of the days, which is great, because it means I get to operate with friends!!

Surgeons!


This week I also started the "4AM work out campaign". Which, also became the  "8:30PM bedtime campaign".

I did it though! 5 days in a row!



Monday, we also got snow. North Carolina is being so rude right now.




Wednesday was our annual resident retreat. This year we had a field day, which was cold, but ended up being fun...much needed laughs for everyone.

GYN team lunch


Friday, we matched our new interns! So exciting because this is the class kicking us out! WOOT #89Days

The kiddos are doing great. Since I have been on Consults, I have no clue what is going on in our house. I'm gone before they get up and back right before bed time. It's a bummer, but I'm thankful for such good family time up until now. Also, my weekends are EV-ER-Y-THING.

There was that one time this week I was able to pick up Isabelle, and then I dropped my badge somewhere on the ground at her daycare...#Fail. Hahaha but it was recovered.



Last weekend, Natey got a hair cut and he thinks he is the bomb. I can't blame him, he looks so cool! If you have tips on how to get a 9 year old out the mirror, please advise...




Isabelle and I had our first Mommy-daughter pedi sessions. She did great - not surprised. I see many more of these in our future.

Hope you all are having a good weekend!!

xoxo



Tuesday, March 13, 2018

SHEroes Unite! Strength Has No Gender™ Campaign with Brawny®

I am a member of the Social Fabric and Collective Bias Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser, Brawny as part of their #StrengthHasNoGender #cbias campaign.


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There are only 90-something days until graduation. This week, the next year’s interns will match and I always get nostalgic this time thinking about how far I have come.

I’m so excited when I see young women matching into their dream specialties - especially the mamas, because those images are what kept me going when medicine was just a dream... They were my SHEroes. 

A SHEro is a woman who embodies strength, courage, the confidence to be herself, and does it all while uplifting those around her. We all know these women. 

I am related to them, I work with them, and these women are my patients. I strive to be them.

This year for Women’s History Month, I’ve partnered with Brawny® paper towel in their Strength Has No Gender™ campaign. Brawny®'s brand mission is inspiring others to overcome life's challenges with strength and resilience. We are highlighting the everyday “SHEro Stories” of women who are dominating fields that have been traditionally dominated by men. You can find more information on their campaign page: Here.

Not only have they given their packaging a timely makeover to celebrate women, but what I love the most is that they want to hear as many SHEro stories as possible, because they have an amazing message to spread: 
GIRLS INC. PARTNERSHIP MODULE SHEROES OF TOMORROW: Brawny® will donate a $100K and, will also give your SHEro stories to Girls Inc. to inspire girls to be strong, smart, and bold. Let’s shape a better future and prove #StrengthHasNoGender
If that isn’t a reason to tell your story, I don’t know what is!

My journey started as child drawn to medicine but my destination became less clear May 2008 when I found out I was pregnant - the summer before my senior year in college. I laugh today because so much of my plan was contingent on not starting my family until after residency, and I could not see things any other way. Thankfully, I did quickly see it differently in someone else...

I call it divine intervention, that shortly after telling my friends and job about my pregnancy, I was introduced to someone who was living the life I had thought was impossible. She had not only had a baby during college, but was strong enough to not let it derail her dreams, and had made it to medical school where she was thriving. Y’all, to this day, that was one of the most important meetings of my life.

Needless to say, I left that meeting and took the baton. I had my son in January and we were in the car headed to a medical school interview 2 weeks later. I was nursing a newborn in the hotel next door in between my interviews - can you say "stressful"?!

I didn’t get in to medical school that year, but I still clung to the dream. I graduated from Michigan on time, packed up my baby, and we moved to Indianapolis so that I could do a post-bac program and reapply. It meant moving way out of my comfort zone. It meant going to school full time while parenting a baby all alone. But I was not going to back down.

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By the spring, I had two medical school acceptances - one of them included a full tuition scholarship.

I started blogging. If I could do it, I wanted the next young woman to never doubt that she could too. 

I finished medical school, adding another little to the bunch, and I matched into my number one program. One of the top OBGYN programs in the country. 

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These four years have flown by. I’ve delivered hundreds of babies, performed awesome surgeries, been able to present research at conferences, and teach medical students. Most times it’s tough, but sometimes it seems like a dream.

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I’m starting a new rotation this week after having 7 weeks of even better hours, less call, and even a vacation thrown in there. I have been living my best working mom life - school pick-ups, working out, making dinner (sometimes), and plenty of self care.

Like much of residency, the pendulum swings between lifestyle extremes and occasionally you get to hang out in the sweet spot. Things are going to shift in the other direction, but I’m ready to end this chapter strong. 

When you’re a doctor mom, your time at home can be scarce at times and is so precious. The last thing you want to do is spend it cleaning up messes. Efficiency is everything and Brawny® Pick-a-Size 8 Giant Plus is so clutch because it helps me keep things neat during snack time and has more sheets per roll - which means our weekly run to Wal-Mart is enough, and I can get back to what matters most - spending time with my kiddos. 

My nine year old asked me if that was me on the Brawny packaging. The fact that he thinks I'm cool enough to be on there makes this crazy life all worth it... 

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OK ladies! It's your turn. I want to hear about your own personal SHEro stories. Let's inspire some young girls and start a movement!

You can find the limited-time Strength Has No Gender™ pack available at Walmart. 

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