When I was in the gift shop in Japan at Epcot in Disney World, I bought a doll named Tsukiko.  She is a Japanese Confidence Doll made by Kimmidoll.  They had a lot of dolls that represented different emotions and feelings, like Happy, Love, Brave, Gratitude, Creative, Adventurous, Kindness, Laughter, Joy, Wisdom, and a bunch of others.  I chose Confidence because it is something that I have struggled with from time to time.  Today was a big day for me.  It was my last day at the studio that I’ve been dancing at for the last five years.  I was sad to be leaving all the other girls and my teachers, but I am excited at the same time.  I want to spend more time working on ballet and perfecting my technique and to take some time off from doing competitions, at least for a while.  It’s scary to be going to a new studio, so when I saw the Confidence doll, I knew I had to have her.  Whenever I am feeling discouraged, I will remember my doll.  Whenever I feel like there is something that I can’t do, I’ll remember my doll.  Whenever I feel like I want to quit, I’ll remember my doll.  Whenever the mean girls start talking, I’ll remember my doll.  Whenever, I need to stand up for myself or for somebody else or for something that I believe in, I’ll remember my doll.  She came with a note and it says:

My spirit is bold and courageous.

By believing in yourself and staying true to your convictions,

you show my courageous spirit.

May your self-assurance boldly lead you,

so you may do everything with calm confidence.

 For all the girls who sometimes feel like I do – BE BOLD.  BE COURAGEOUS.  BE CONFIDENT!

Tsukiko, Japanese Confidence Doll

Don’t Be a Mean Girl

So, I have been trying to figure out how to write about this subject.  It has been on my mind for a long time now.  I start middle school in less than a month and I am kinda worried about it.  I thought there was enough going on in elementary school, but I’m pretty sure it gets worse in middle school.  I want to talk about mean girls and how they treat other girls.  Whenever I would come home from school or dance class and I would tell my mom how certain people acted that day, if they were mean to me, or said something mean, or treated me badly – she would always say, “Ainsley, the reason why this person doesn’t like you is because they don’t like themselves.”  She would say that every time and it made me mad because it didn’t make sense.  Now it does.

Last year in 5th grade there were always girls who would argue, fight, and be mean to each other, usually over something stupid.  Our teacher and another girl in my class and me would call it “girl drama.”  I tried to stay out of all the girl drama, but sometimes the girls who create all the girl drama try to bring you into it.  They target you to be mean to.  There were two girls at school who caused me more girl drama than the rest.  One of them based her entire life off of talking bad about people and criticizing them and talking behind their backs.  She was a mean girl, but always acted nice when people were around.  As soon as they left the room, she would rag on them and laugh at them with other kids.  She treated almost everybody like that, even her friends.  She would compare herself to others and put them down.  She always had to have the better hair, the better clothes, was a better dancer, a better singer, smarter.  And instead of her being good at whatever she was doing and letting somebody else be good at what they did, she made them feel bad about themselves because nobody could be better than her.  Or so she would say.  And the thing about it is, most of the time when she was saying those things, she was wrong.  Not to put her down, but she had to make herself look good by making herself better than another person.

There was another girl who came to our school new a few years ago.  When we first met, she was nice to me.  She acted like she wanted to be my friend.  Then, after she became friends with someone I had been friends with forever, she started being mean to me.  She always criticized me to my face.  She tried to get my friend to like her better than me, instead of all of us just being friends.  There is another girl who was in my dance group.  She did the same thing.  She replaced a girl who moved away, but she made it a point of singling me out every time for criticism.  She was clearly the worst dancer of the group – not because she was a bad dancer, but because she hadn’t danced as long as the rest of us.  Nobody ragged on her dancing, but she made it a point of ragging on ours, especially me for some reason.  If there was a dance move or combination that she struggled with, she would get mad at me.  She always tried to pull the other girls in the group away from me and make them like her more.  She would accuse me of things that I didn’t do.  This went on for an entire year!  She made me soooooo angry.

My mom and I have talked about this a lot.  My mom calls it “Mean Girl Syndrome.”  There is even a movie about it.  My mom said that these kinds of girls were around when she was in elementary school, middle school, and high school too.  She said they were even around in college and at places she worked.  I hate it.  But, I do now understand what she meant.  If you are not happy with yourself then you find somebody else to pick on.  If you tell yourself and other people that this person is not as good as you, then it makes you feel better about yourself.  In my opinion, that is a sucky way to live.  If there is something that I don’t like about myself, I try to change it.  If I am having trouble with a combination in dance, I work on it until I can do it.  What good is putting down the other people who can do the combination?  You’re still standing there looking stupid because you can’t get it.

I don’t want to be a person who is mean or a bully just to make myself look good and to make other people feel bad.  I wish other girls felt the same way.  If the only way you can feel good about yourself is to mistreat other people, then that’s sad and I feel sorry for you.  Like my mom said, if I didn’t do anything to make you dislike me, then your obsession with talking about me must not be about me.  It must be about you!  And the only way to feel good about yourself is to stop focusing on other people and to focus on yourself.  Everybody is different.  There will always be somebody else smarter, prettier, and who dances better.  But that doesn’t mean that you can’t be smart, pretty, and a good dancer too.  It does make sense – people don’t like me because they don’t like themselves.  My wish for girls everywhere is that they stop being mean to each other and learn to love themselves.  Don’t be a bully!  Be a friend!

The End of My Vacation – Good-Bye Disney World!

Last Sunday and Monday were the last two days spent at Disney World.  My older sister, Ashley, flew home on Sunday morning.  My mom and dad drove her to the airport early in the morning.  My brother and I were still asleep back at the hotel.  Ashley had to go to work on Monday.  We didn’t have any plans on Sunday or Monday, so we went back to Animal Kingdom and Epcot on Sunday and back to the Magic Kingdom on Monday.  We visited shops we missed or that we just had to go back to one last time.  We also chased down the rest of the characters that I wanted to see.  On Sunday evening, when we got back to the hotel, my brother and I swam in the hotel pool while my mom and dad did laundry.  We ordered Disney pizza for dinner.  They delivered it in a little truck that looked like a golf cart.  The pizza was, MEH!  You know you’ve been on vacation a while when you have to do laundry!  On Monday night, we had one last group activity with all of the dancers from the studio and their families.  We ate dinner all together at a place called the Odyssey Center in on the lake in Epcot.  Our plans were altered a little bit because of the rain.  Yes, RAIN!  It poured like cats and dogs on our first day at Disney and it poured like cats and dogs on our last day at Disney!  Right after we left the Magic Kingdom, got on the Monorail, rode to the first entrance gate, and then rode the tram back to our parked car, the sky opened up and it started to rain like crazy and continued to rain for the rest of the night.  We got back to hotel, fell asleep for a while, then got dressed, and drove back over to Epcot.  It was raining so hard that we didn’t want to wait for the tram.  So, we walked really, really fast through the parking lot, the front gate, and into Epcot to meet everybody at the Odyssey Center.  We all had on our Disney parkas and had really big umbrellas.  We still got pretty wet, especially our shoes.  After dinner, we were escorted through Epcot to the far side of the lake to France, where we went to watch the nightly fireworks show.  They had a spot reserved for us right on a balcony overlooking the lake.  The show was called IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. First of all, the walk over there was killer.  Second, did I mention it was raining like crazy?  Third, because of the lightening, they delayed the fireworks show!  We got over to our spot around 8:50 p.m.  The show was supposed to start at 9:00 p.m.  Guess what?  It didn’t start.  Every ten minutes a guy came over the loud speaker to tell us that the show was being delayed due to the lightening.  By the time it was 9:15 p.m. everybody was soaking wet and people were starting to leave.  We stood there under our umbrellas waiting and hoping.  It would suck for our last night at Disney to be rained out!  We started thinking about leaving.  Our guide was pretty sure that if the show hadn’t started by 9:30 p.m. then it would be cancelled.  So, we waited……. And we waited……..and the guy came back on at 9:30 p.m. and he said that the show was still delayed.  Delayed, not CANCELLED!!!  As long as the show hadn’t been cancelled, we were gonna wait.  And so we did.  Soaking wet, but we waited.  At about 9:50 p.m. – a full hour later – the show started.  And it was spectacular!  Awesome!  Stupendous!  I am glad we waited.  After the show, we ran out of there.  Us, and hundreds of other soaking wet people!  Did I mention that my mom wasn’t happy about standing around for an hour in the rain?  But, you knew that already, didn’t you?  It rained and it rained and it rained.  Back around the lake, to the front gate, under the Epcot golf ball, out to the parking lot (no need for a tram), and finally, the car!  We got back to the hotel, dried off, and got in bed.  The next day was Tuesday.  We woke up early, got dressed, packed the car, said good-bye to Disney World and started our long drive home.  We drove all day on Tuesday and stopped at a hotel in Baton Rouge for the night.  We got up early Wednesday morning and drove the rest of the way home, arriving after 7:00 p.m.  I had the best time at Disney World.  It was better than I imagined it would be, but I was so happy to see my dog, Ziggy, and to sleep in my own bed again.  Thank you for letting me share my vacation with you.  Take a look at the rest of the pictures that I didn’t show you in my earlier posts.


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Duffy the Disney Bear Mickey Mouse lanyard

Tsukiko, Japanese Confidence Doll Japanese soda




The Magic Kingdom

Last Saturday, I spent the day at the Magic Kingdom theme park.  This is Disney World’s first park and its most popular.  It’s the one that comes to mind the most when you think of Disney.  It has Cinderella’s castle in it.  And it has Main Street where they do all of the Disney parades.  First of all, we woke up bright and early on Saturday morning.  We drove from the hotel to the parking lot of the Magic Kingdom.  The thing about Disney is ALL of their parking lots at all of the theme parks are gigantic, but the parking lot at the Magic Kingdom was the biggest I’d ever seen.  Because the parking lots are so big, you have to park so far away from the entrance to each park, and they have trams that you can take just to get to the front gates.  The guy who was driving the tram said that the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot was bigger than all of the parking lots of the other Disney World theme parks combined.  But, for the Magic Kingdom, you take a tram to the “front gate,” and then you have to take the Monorail to get into the Magic Kingdom.  Yes, you have to board the Monorail that will actually take you to the real front of the Magic Kingdom!  You can also get there by ferry boat.  The Monorail driver said that the Magic Kingdom was actually 1 ½ miles away from the parking lot.  It was an ordeal just to get into that place!

Once we got there, you could see Cinderella’s Castle in the distance.  It was huge!  We stood in line for over an hour to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen.  We also stood in line for another hour to ride the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  My mom and dad rode that one too.  I rode in the same car as my mom and she was not happy.  Very funny stuff!  My brother, sister, and me rode Prince Charming’s Regal Carrousel (then I rode it a second time with my mom), the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and drove cars at the Tomorrowland Speedway.  I also met Rapunzel, Merida, and Tiana all at the Magic Kingdom.  And we got to see a parade down Main Street.  The Magic Kingdom was so big and we were so hot and tired that when it was time to go, we took the Walt Disney World Railroad from Frontierland back to the front gate, where we had to take the Monorail back to the other front gate and then the tram back out to the parking lot to our car.  That night we went to Chef Mickey’s Restaurant.  It was located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  It was a big buffet and Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto were all there.  They came to our table and they signed my autograph book and took pictures with us.  And the coolest thing of all was that the Monorail comes right through Chef Mickey’s.  Now that was awesome!  Take a look at my pictures.


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Dancing at Disney – Hollywood Studios and Downtown Disney

A week ago today I was still on vacation at Disney World.  I woke up and spent the morning at Hollywood Studios with my family.  Hollywood Studios reminded me of being in a movie.  I guess it was supposed to.  It was Hollywood Studios after all.  We ate breakfast at a cute little bakery and coffee shop called The Writer’s Stop.  We got the biggest muffins that I’d ever seen.  We shared a blueberry muffin, chocolate chip muffin, and a strawberry and white chocolate muffin.  They were really good.  The first ride we went on my parents came with us.  It was a Star Wars ride called the Jedi Training Academy.  C-3PO was looking for a spy and he shined a laser into the room where we were all sitting and he picked out my mom and showed her face on the screen.  She was the SPY!!!  We all thought that was really funny!  When we got off the ride, we were in the Star Wars gift shop.  I bought a light saber that I got to make myself.  It lights up and makes noise.  Then I went with my brother and sister on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.  Holy moly, it was scary!  It would take you up high like you were in an elevator and then it would just drop you.  It felt like there was nothing underneath our feet.  I screamed like crazy.  So did my brother and sister!  Then we went on the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith.  That one was even worse.  It went upside down three times!  We had a lot of fun!  We left Hollywood Studios around noon and went back to the hotel where I had to get ready for my performance with my dance Company in Downtown Disney that evening.  It was so hot out there.  I felt like I was gonna pass out!  But we all made it through and our performance was awesome.

You wanna know what else was awesome?  Downtown Disney!  Oh yeah!  It was FULL of shops and food.  No rides, but all of the stores I wanted to shop in.  We ate seafood at Fulton’s Crab House.  It was a really nice restaurant.  The food was good too.  I liked the lobster corn dogs the best.  It was an appetizer.  Fulton’s was a two-story restaurant on the lake.  It had a balcony and you could see all of Downtown Disney from there.  After we ate, we shopped and shopped and shopped.  We went to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, Goofy’s Candy Company, The Candy Cauldron (they had the coolest candy apples), and Basin which was a bath and body store that (sorry mom) put Bath and Body Works to shame!  I got souvenirs for both of my grandmothers from there.  My mom bought Mickey Mouse soap to take back to all the people she works with.  It was way cool!  Next time I go to Disney World, I am going to make sure to go to Downtown Disney and stay all day long!

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That’s my brother looking up at the Tower of Terror.  Ha Ha!  He was scared!


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