Monday, December 26, 2016

Pop for St. Jude Heroes

So it's been awhile since I have done an actual giveaway for my St. Jude Heroes fundraiser.

I've sat on this one for awhile because I've fighting my inner fangirl over keeping this one to myself.

Back in October when we went to Wizard World in Tulsa we did the Sebastian Stan meet & greet and photo opp. I bought the POP Civil War Winter Soldier with the intention of using it for a fundraiser.  

Little known fact even though I am thoroughly and unapologetically #TeamIronman I do love me some Bucky.

Anyway, I are the details for every 5.00 donation to my fundraiser between today and January 2, 2017 you will get one entry towards bringing this signed POP figure to your collection.

As you know this is my fourth  #stjudeheroes race for the children and families of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  Did you know that not only do families not have a bill while they are there, but that St. Jude also covers food, lodging and travel costs? So truly there is nothing the family needs to worry about outside of caring for their child. 

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital are able to do such amazing things with your help.  Every donation goes to help them provide research, quality care and hope. 

Won't you consider donating?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Adventures in Roadtripping

There is no place like home.  But we do love a good vacation and equally a good road trip.

 The time we get to spend with each other away from schedules and activities makes it worth it to us.  Even the drudgery of the car is not quite so bad.  Says the lady who is comfortably ensconced in the passenger seat.  The driver might have a different tale to tell.

Holiday travel is just around the corner and as we gear up for our next road trip I thought this would be a great time to discuss our road trip tips.

Know before you go.

Whether it's a three hour trip or eighteen.  Know your route.  Compare several different driving options and pick one that makes sense for what you are wanting to accomplish. Don't just leave it to your GPS to determine your route for you.  

Know how far you want to drive in one day in longer trips.  Once you determine that find a hotel in that city and book in advance.  Trust me there is nothing quite as frustrating as being ready to stop and finding no room at the inn.  

Let me entertain you...

My role is to serve as entertainment director, referee, time-keeper, co-pilot and game show host. I switch movies, stop squabbles over chargers.  I enforce reading time, screen time and journal time.  I am responsible for keeping the driver awake. 

Have  plenty of entertainment options.  While we don't necessarily limit screen time while on the road. It is what it is. I do make sure that Mighty and Mini balance it out.  I do require reading, journaling or coloring between movies and screen time.  

We also livened it up with a Marvel Trivia box. After every stop and between every movie we would break out the trivia.This might have been my favorite part of drive. 

The Munchies
I would love to say that we do awesome creative 100% healthy snacks.  But I can't.  We do pack pre-packaged apple and grapes, and also had some strawberries and bananas on hand but that's about the extent of our healthy. We also have chips, fruit snacks, beef jerky and Turkey pepperoni. 
We subscribe to the it's not done until it's overdone theory when it comes to munchies. But it's rare to hear "I'm hungry!".  The variety helps stave off the temptations of the magical, mystery road travel centers.

Roll with it 

The toughest thing for this control freak is to roll with the unexpected.   Traffic (hello Atlanta!), weather,  and construction may slow you down but at the end it works out. 

Just enjoy whatever comes your way, planned  or not.  The road trip is not about perfection. It is all about the adventure, as  well as the family moments both good and bad along the way.

Does your family like to road trip?  what are some of your favorite aspects of being on  the road?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Turkey Day Birthday Bash

Fall is a crazy time for us.  It's not only the back to school to and the activities it's also Birthdaypalooza.

Our extended family birthdays start in September, two in October.  Then the fun begins. In we have  my birthday, 12 days later Mighty's birthday, then Thanksgiving and the week.after Thanksgiving it's Miss E's day.  Then Christmas it's a wild two months of celebrations. 

This year after a super stressful  September we decided to do something different for Thanksgiving since we have an extended break for the holiday. Enter a fortuitously timed email from Universal Resorts giving us a great deal and it just so happened to be valid during the time we were looking at.  Well, it was an offer we couldn't refuse.

So we are packing up  and hitting the road for a crazy whirlwind celebration of the birthday trifecta  and Thanksgiving.

We will be staying at my personal favorite Universal Orlando Resort, The Hard Rock Hotel.  I see lots of unwinding and time to reflect on all that we have to be thankful for this year.   

New Universal Orlando Preferred  Annual Passes  have been secured so not only are we set for the fall, we are good to go for our summer trip. I'm looking forward to celebrate Thanksgiving with our Springfield family, The Simpsons and being able to #hulkout since it wasn't open this summer. As well as some up close and personal time with our favorite Raptor.

I cannot wait for our celebration  to begin.

Are you traveling for the holidays?  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Our Favorite Things: Universal Orlando Edition.

Now that we are back in the throes of school and activities.  I'm getting a little nostalgic for our summer vacation.

We had a blast and for sure many memories were made.  We found ourselves spending more time at Universal Orlando than we have in years past. It was an amazing part of our trip  and we ended up tacking on an unplanned day at the end of our trip for more fun. Why do we love Universal Studios?  Here are my nerdy little family's top things to do and see at Universal Orlando. 

 I tasked everyone to come up with some of their favorite Universal Moments.  It could be rides, treats (holla Miss E), character experiences.  Or whatever. Here are their thoughts.

It should come as no surprise that Marvel Super Hero Island ranks at the top of the list for all of us. 

Hockey Nerd: He is a man of few words.  Especially if he thinks I'm going to use them here. The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. Because Spidey! Obviously.

Miss E: All things Butterbeer .  Including the Annual Mommy and Mini Florean Fortescue breakfast date.

Minion Mayhem because minions and the fart gun that smells miraculously like bananas.  

The Simpsons ride - because of big Maggie and "because there is science"

Mighty: Jurassic Park because it feels like he is stepping into the movies.  The River Adventure ride and the Raptor encounter are his favorites.

Skull Island: Reign of Kong - We were lucky enough to catch a soft opening for this before we left this summer.  Believe me when I tell you that he has not stopped talking about it.  The combination of special effects and surprises put this one over the top for him. 

Me: The Hulk roller coaster.  I was always a little nervous when it came to roller coasters. I would ride them, but I was never a huge fan. Especially if they went upside down.   The big guy changed that for me.  It's fast and fun and I love it.  Not to mention some of the views from the ride are amazing especially when "the sun's getting real low".

 I'm quite a bit bummed that we missed him this summer due to renovations.But from what I've seen now that The Hulk has come smashing back to life it's going to be amazing. I cannot wait to #hulkout.

The characters at Marvel Super Hero Island.  The diversity of the characters is pretty cool.  I love that the X-Men are well represented. I've had some of my favorite moments with Wolverine and Cyclops.

Dr. Doom is always a treat.  And where else are you going to find the Green Goblin roaming the streets free, waiting to jump out at an unsuspecting  web head.

We also have a soft spot for the Simpson's and all of Springfield.  And oh Duff Beer (for the over 21 set).  Perfect on a hot summer day.  Eating a meal in Moe's Tavern is a surreal bit of fun and has become our favorite stop for a quick bite to eat.

There truly is something for everyone and every age. Both parks are well worth a visit.  We are constantly finding new things to love.

Have  you been? What are some of your favorite things about Universal Orlando?

Monday, August 22, 2016

Taking On the Dark Side

I did it again.  I signed up for another race as a St. Jude Hero.  Every year I say I'm not going to sign up.  Every year I do.

This time I am taking on The Dark Side Challenge and like the Infinity Gauntlet Challenge this is right up my my nerdy alley. I tend to favor the bad guys.  So how fitting is it for me to combine both my love of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital while getting to be bad at the same time.

So why do I run for St. Jude?

Why do I continually  force myself out of my comfort zone?  Especially when I can just pay the runDisney race fees and call it good?  

Because I can help, even if my efforts are a just a tiny drop in the bucket, I know I've helped.  

The awkward uncomfortable stretching of myself that happens every when year I ask people to donate  is nothing compared  to what the children and the families of St. Jude face daily, even hourly. I can make myself uncomfortable  for however long it takes to make a difference for the families of St. Jude.

I run for St. Jude because I believe that they are fighting for cures.  They are fighting the ultimate dark side, childhood cancer.

I run for St. Jude because no family should ever have to worry about the cost of care for their child. No one should worry about bills or insurance. They just need to focus on their child.  

St. Jude provides Hope.  Hope for a cure. Who doesn't want to help provide hope?

I am asking you to consider donating to my St. Jude fundraiser this year.  Together let's help St. Jude defeat the Dark Side.
If you are interested  in supporting me this year my personal fundraising  link here.   Or
Thank you. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Roots and Wings

We had a first in the Nerdy family today.  Mighty went off to his first overnight camp. Not close to home.  For more than one night. 

Yes, I realize he is not the first child to ever go to camp.  But he is MY first child to go camp.  It's crazy to me he is old enough to be going to camp.  Away from me. 

I swear I didn't blink, but yet somehow here I am.   I feel like we are at this huge crossroads.  One that I'm not totally prepared to face just yet.  This is the beginning of his independence.  Or the beginning of where he starts to want to branch out away from us more.  I know it's the way life is, but oh my goodness.  How quickly we got here. 

We have always subscribed to the theory that the two best things we can give to Mighty and Mini are roots and wings.  Roots to know they are supported, loved and always a part of us no matter what.  Roots to be grounded in our  family values and  our faith.  But give them wings to fly.  To be Mighty and Mini in whatever they want to do and wherever they want to go.  Wings to be confudrnt in themselves and not be afraid to fall. 

So today was rubber meets the road with my first attempt at letting Mighty fly and it's way more challenging than what I was expecting.  

I know he's having fun but for now I'm  stalking Facebook for pictures and trying to not to be that Mom and text the director to see how he's doing. 

Moms of older kids who have navigated these early branching out years, do you have any words of wisdom for me?

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Pokemom Go!

Hi, I'm Suzanne and I have a Pokemon Go problem.  It started innocently enough on Saturday. Hockey Nerd and I downloaded to our respective phones for Mighty and Miss E to be able to play since they don't have their own phones yet. 
E set up her profile on my phone and we went and explored a our yard to catch out first, a Bulbasaur.

Later that afternoon she and I went on our first "Poke-walk" around our neighborhood.  We caught a wild Eevee and several rattata and a few Pidgey's.  We had fun and a weird  thing happened.  We talked as we were walking.  Well, ok, we talk everyday.  But this was different it was one on one , Mommy and E time.  Outside of our house and away from distractions.  We had so much fun!

I found myself keeping the app up to try and find more even when Miss E was not with me. It's kind of addictive once you start.

On Sunday on the ride to church while I was a passenger. I found several Poke stops and grabbed what they had to offer and let me tell you our van is quite the place to catch Pokemon.  Soon the habit was born.  E and I hatched our evil plot to "beat the boys".

On the ride to work I'm playing.  On the ride home I'm playing.  I conceded once and grabbed Lew's phone to get a few Pokeballs for them. Once.  Because you know, you've gotta catch them all.

We do have a few ground rules. There is no going into other people's yards.  We don't take pictures involving other people's houses. We don't play once we get inside any building outside of our house.  And we don't hunt for Pokemon while crossing the street.  Oh and I don't play during working hours.  With the exception of lunch.

That's it. I'm sure there are more to come.  But those cover out basic needs and emphasizes the importance of respecting others personal property. The Google permissions issue was really a non-issue for us as it was limited to IOS only (and not all if them at that). Yay for Android!

E and I have walked every day since Saturday.  It has become the favorite part of my day.  We talk, we walk, we catch Pokemon.  We've run into several school friends. When she visits with her school friends, I actually have to talk as well. Pokemon go is making  this introvert be social in those instances.  We even got a medal last night for having walked a 10k.  Which if you break it down over the course of five days isn't a lot.  But to Miss E it was a big deal. 

 As we've progressed we joined Team Valor and keep adding to our Pokedex. We have yet to battle it out at a gym but that's coming soon.  For now though it's just been a fun thing for my girl and I to do mostly together.  But I certainly help our girl team effort along even when we aren't walking together.

Now if you will excuse me, its daylight.  Alarms have gone off and I have one hour until work.  I have some Pokemon to catch. 
Are you playing? 

Friday, May 13, 2016

Meet the Family

Allow me to introduce my nerdy little family.  Sure, I've talked about them here and there but now they are going to be involved in a whole new way.  So I felt like it was time to reintroduce them .

Plus also it will allow me the chance to showcase the mad skills of my friend Chris from On A Roll Designs. When the bug hit to start this new blog she was the first person I talked to(even before the hockey nerd)...not kidding.  I told her my plans for the new blog, but had absolutely no clue as to what I wanted it to look like.  Fortunately, she gets me and came up with the Nerdy Family as Pop figures.

So without further adieu here we go.

First up. Meet my main nerd. My hockey nerd. The Peter Parker to my Mary Jane.  (Working the hair color thing here). He introduced me to love of Marvel and has encouraged my fledgling comics obsession. He expanded my Star Wars Universe as well. He puts up with me so I have to say he's pretty spectacular. Bless him! (and believe me when I tell you putting up with me is a pretty big task)

Next up is Mighty.  Currently loves Minecraft and YouTube. He was genetically predisposed to a love for Star Wars and your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. As well as most things Marvel.  Life goals at the moment are to be a video game designer and a YouTuber. Yeah.  He and I are working on those goals a little.

Say hello to Miss E also known as Mini.  She loves singing, Ahsoka Tano, Sabine Wren, Tony Stark, Black Panther and bunnies.  She wants to be a singer, a teacher, veterinarian.and have her own YouTube Channel.  Notice a trend here?

You know me. But I just love the details here.  Captain Phasma, Jessica Jones in hand and Mizuno on my feet. Fairly good representation of me at the moment. The only thing missing is a cup of coffee, (and maybe Wolverine claws.... )

So there you have it.  Us in a nutshell.

What are some of your favorite nerdy things?

Thursday, May 12, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Vacation

Oh...its almost time.  Thank goodness, it's almost time.  We are just about two weeks out from our third annual Big Summer Blowout.

The four of us load up in the van and head to our "summer homes" Universal Studios and Walt Disney World resort.

Yes, we go to both parks. Yes, we love them both.  Totally different experiences but still an awesome time to be had by all of us. But that is a post for another day.  
It's only slightly chaotic to be finalizing trip details amidst the end of the year crazy.  Let me tell you though by the time we hit Orlando we are totally ready for a break and to immerse ourselves  totally in  uninterrupted family time.

This years trip has us sneaking in a day earlier with a first stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  We most likely won't be hitting the parks that night  and just plan to hang out and play at the pool. Get a good night sleep and then check in to our favorite Hard Rock Hotel, get our express passes and hit the ground running.

After a few days there will head to the Polynesian for the first time and we will settle in there for the rest of our stay.

Some new resorts for us and our favorite happiest of happy places.  It's the best way to kick off of our family summer. 
What are your summer trip plans? Any summer family travel traditions?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Happy National Superhero Day!'s a thing.  It's also National Cubicle Day, so there you go.

It's a perfect day to celebrate your favorite superhero. Or just another ordinary day.

So crack open your favorite comic. Rock your favorite super clothes. Watch your favorite movie or show.  Just celebrate the superheroes you love.

I think it sounds like the perfect day to order pizza and settle in for a movie and a Daredevil binge after Mighty and Mini go to bed.

What would be your ideal way to celebrate your favorite Superhero?

Wordless Wednesday from the Dark Side

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Hey Everyone...

 So welcome.  This will be the new home of Suzanne Ran & Suzanne the Fan.  Having tried (and failed) to keep up with two blogs one to encompass running , and one to encompass family life and the more nerdier aspects of my world.  I decided that it was time to just start over and combine all aspects of my world in just one place.  

My intent is still discuss running, Disney, Marvel, Star Wars.  Whatever happens to cross my little mind.  But with a fairly healthy dose of my family thrown in there too. 

We love to road trip whether it's our annual Big Summer Blowout or just a quick day trip. Some of our best moments usually happen in the van.

I'm always encouraging Mighty and Mini to be themselves as the right people will accept them as they are, quirks and all.  It is time for me to practice what I preach.  

Come on in and make yourself comfy and I hope you will stick around and join me on the new journey.