Push Away the Screen-Experience Madagascar

Our family loves Busch Gardens. We are annual pass holders and we go to the park quite often. When the kids and I were invited to "Media Day" to preview the new show Madagascar LIVE Operation Vacation, we jumped at the chance! This meant that the trio even got to play hooky from school.

We were instructed to enter Busch Gardens through the employee entrance which took us right under the massive roller coaster Shiekra!! My gang is not yet tall enough for this ride, but they love to watch it "swoosh" through, so getting so close was a real treat!

 We walked up a green paw printed carpet and were each given a lovely drawstring Busch Gardens bag (with their new logo!!) and inside the bag we each had a t-shirt, a Madagascar notepad and pen. We hobnobbed with other media locals; fellow bloggers, reporters, and TV Personalities.

We were escorted through the park (before it was even open!!) to the newly renovated AIR-CONDITIONED Stanleyville Theater. My kids are always asking me to see the shows, but I always balk at the idea of being "trapped" with three little kids alone in a theater. What if someone has to pee? Do I leave and take all 3? Do I just take one and leave the other two behind? This experience forced me outside MY comfort zone and allowed my gang to experience something that they have been begging for!

We had a quick meet/greet with King Julien and went back to our seats to await the start of the show!

The show started off with a bang and my little dude got a bit freaked out. It was quite loud, and he doesn't do so well with loud unexpected noises, but that ended quickly and the familiar characters from Madagascar came out singing and dancing!

Photo by Busch Gardens

It was a very "boy-bandish" type of show. Very poppy, very catchy. Reminded me a bit of the Spice Girls meets New Direction. And I loved it. And more importantly, my kids loved it. We never got bored, and we never had to make a trip to the bathroom.


The show ended with bubbles falling from the sky. This totally made Ronin's day. He loves bubbles and he was laughing and giggling as they fell around him. 

After the show was over, we spent the rest of the day riding the water rides with our friends.

The kids went on the log flume, the Congo River Rapids (twice!!) and the Tidal Wave (3 or 4 times!!) plus they played in the water area at Jungala! It was a fantastic day, and just a precursor to all the fun we have planned for summer vacation!!

Photo by Denise of RunDMT


For information about Busch Gardens Tampa and its newest show, Madagascar Live! Operation Vacation, visit online for showtimes, tickets and hours of operations. Guest can also experience “The Royal Treatment with King Julien”, an exclusive dining experience now available, featuring lunch at Zambia Smokehouse, reserved show seating, and priority at the end-of-show meet and greet with the characters.

Push Away the Screen-Obstacle Course Fun!!

Pushing Away the Screen is also something that I have to work on with my husband. He's a computer guru; literally. He hold a certification that only a handful of people have in the United States. He works hard, and his back suffers from the long hours he spends on his bum. He rides his bike about 50 miles per week, but I do enjoy the time that we can spend together as a COUPLE getting out and being active.

My husband (I guess this is turning into a BRAG post) is also wicked smart! Like seriously smart. Scary smart. And strong.

When I was contacted by Xtreme Obstacle Challenge to participate in their NEW race I said yes, but then after looking over the obstacles (which aren't mud related, which is sort of thing Wink) I freaked out a bit. From their website:

"Test your strength, agility and quick-thinking with a colossal show of extreme obstacles spread over a three mile course. The high-energy start catapults every participant into the specially designed obstacle course, making for loads of Xtreme fun. The dynamic and elevated finish line celebrates your quest to the finish.

The experience is designed to be not only fun, but a true test of your determination and strategy."

WHAT?? Strategy? You mean I just can't hurl my body through some mud?  I knew then that in order to be successful at this race I was going to need the smartest, strongest person I know: MY HUSBAND!! I asked if he could come along and race with me, they said YES, so guess what...WE'RE DOING IT!! And I'm pretty sure we are bringing the kids. Kids under 14 can't race, but the course is spectator friendly (and FREE for spectators!!) and for most of the race the trio will be able to see us, and there is NOTHING BETTER than having the kids cheer you on while you are making a complete fool of yourself flexing your muscles.

Would you like to join us?? I have ONE FREE ENTRY to give to one lucky reader!! You do have to pay a $12 insurance waiver fee thingy, but still a bargain compared to the overall cost of the race.

If you'd like to go, simply comment on this blog post with what obstacle looks to be the most FUN FOR YOU!! For me...I am looking forward to MAZED & CONFUSED!!

I also have a discount code to share with you all! If you register by MAY 30th, use the code XTR10KW to save $10 off your registration.  The race takes place on June 29th, and it's on the grounds of Fantasy of Flight just east of Lakeland.

I have to pick a winner SOON because the free code for you also expires on May 30th! I'll pick the winner on May 28th, so that gives you two days to make sure you can go, etc...

Hope to see you there!!

I'll have a full review and pictures up after the race!!

Have you ever done an OBSTACLE race that DIDN'T involve mud???

Push Away the Screen-The Great Mother's Day Race

For the second consecutive Mother's Day, the kids and I woke up at dawn and headed down to Al Lopez park to participate in the 2nd annual Mother's Day 5K run.

This is a great local race made better this year by having Ronin and Matthew join us. Smile James had to work doing a code deploy so for the second Sunday in a row he missed out on all the fun. Undecided I'm sad he's not able to come with us, but so proud of him for all the hard work and dedication he shows to his job.

The kids played on the great playscape while I checked in and got our race bibs. We walked our stuff back to the truck and we still had time for some pre-race photos! Ella is just such a beauty with long, fast legs!

All of us wore our Polar gear today (including Matthew who has a Polar patch on his vest!!)

We met up at the start line with fellow Polar Ambassador Mindy from Mindy's Fitness Journey. Mindy's 9 year old son was running the race, too!


I don't remember hearing the National Anthem (if you were there, please let me know...) and soon we were off!! Ronin took off like a mad-man, and thankfully so did Bryce! I had Matthew (the dog) and the girls. I tried to weave through the people to make it up to Ronin, but the dog created some issues because I couldn't weave through the walkers like I normally can and before I knew it Ronin was out of my eyesight and I made it to Mile Marker 1, and I was all alone. Well, me and Matthew.

I had NO kids with me. Such an odd feeling. I backtracked to find my daughter's and they were holding hands, walking and talking. I asked if they were okay, they assured me "M.O.M. we are FINE, go run" so Matthew and I took off to try to catch Ronin.

Matthew and I sprinted past the mile 2 sign and up ahead in the distance I could see Ronin's white hair, and thankfully I also saw Mindy. Thank goodness because I was quite worried. I knew that Ronin has run enough races WITH me that he knows what to do; he knows to stay on course, and wait at the finish line, but the fact that he was so far ahead of me had me a bit freaked out. Matthew was also nervous and he was really pulling me along trying to get to his boy. I hollered for Ronin, and he turned and saw me, and that little stinker took off!! Surprised I heard Mindy say "I've got him Jenny" and that made me feel so much better, but Matthew and I continued our pace until I caught up with Mindy. She took my photo at Mile 3 and I was so hot and sweaty. And so was Matthew; he was panting up a storm!

I knew Ronin would continue his sprint to the finish, and Bryce was there waiting for his mom, so again, I felt good knowing that Ronin would see a familiar face when he crossed the finish line. Mindy and I sprinted, grabbed hands, raised them high in the air and crossed that finish line with our boys waiting right there for us. Kiss

The four of us (and Matthew) got some water, snapped some pics, and waited for the girls. Ronin was a VERY hot, sticky little dude but he was so proud of himself, and I was quite proud of him, too. This is the FIRST race he's completed where he wasn't "beaten" by one of his sisters.

We waited at the finish line for the girls for quite some time, but they just weren't coming so we decided to head back on the course to try to find them, but a lovely shaded picnic shelter was calling our name, so we decided to stop there first for a few minutes. It was then that we saw the girls and they were still walking. I hollered to them that the finish line was "right there" and I heard Haley say to Ella, "okay sissy, when we get to that bench, we are going to race to the finish line, okay." Ella agreed, they reached the bench, and BAM....they were off like pistons!


Ella came in before Haley, but they really pushed each other that last little bit. It was great to see!

We met them at the finish line, they got their water, and then we got a group shot!

We let the kids talk us into 15 minutes of playground time, and Mindy and I sat under a very shady tree and chatted. This is where I ran into Jen K. from Boys will be Boys and a fellow blogger on the Tampa Bay Moms Blog.

This was a great race. What could have made it better? Just one thing: BLING. I love race bling. I know many 5K races don't give bling, but it would have been such a nice Mothers Day present Smile

Race results came in and I placed 191/326 overall, and 26/46 for my age group. I know I could have done better if I didn't backtrack to find the girls and if I didn't have the dog. But again, this is not my year for PR's. It's THEIR year, and Ronin set himself a new PR. He didn't wear a chip timer so I don't know what his time was, but he did good. I'm proud.

Overall, it was a great race and I hope the kids and I can do it again next year.

I have to give a HUGE shout-out to Skora Running shoes. This was the longest distance I've run in my new shoes and they were AWESOME!! Usually I have to stop at least once during a 5K to adjust my shoe laces, but not this time!! They were also very lightweight and I felt that they really helped improve my overall stride. Excellent running shoes.

These feet were made for running!


Do you run races with your kids? Do they usually run ahead of you? Or do you run ahead of them? Or do you try to stay together? What's the longest race you've done with your kids?