Disney World 2014 - Epcot & Animal Kingdom

Isn't funny how you look forward to something like vacation for so long and then BAM it's over. Coming home on a Tuesday means hitting the ground running trying to catch up after being gone for a week. I wanted Read more

Trust The Process

When I think about things to share on my blog I often think about things I want other people to hear. Other times, like today, it’s more of a reminder to myself to practice what I preach. All too Read more

I’m Done Coasting

Today is 12 weeks, or 3 months, since my Abdominoplasty/Skin Removal. I knew going into it that I wanted to take it easy for the first 3 months. Like I said in my last post, I just wanted to Read more

Disney World 2014 – Epcot & Animal Kingdom

Isn’t funny how you look forward to something like vacation for so long and then BAM it’s over. Coming home on a Tuesday means hitting the ground running trying to catch up after being gone for a week. I wanted to try to write a recap with some Disney tips before I forget.  We packed so much into just a week. Traveling and vacations are some of my favorite things, but after day 6 or so I usually start to crave the comfort of structure. I’m looking forward to getting back to my bed, my food, and my gym. But we had a really great time.

This past week we spent 3 days at Disney World, my absolute favorite place on earth. This trip was especially exciting because Payton is old enough to ride almost all of the rides! We flew in late last Tuesday afternoon and stayed at the Wyndham right next to Downtown Disney for the night. We had reservations and park hopper passes for the next day so we wanted to be sure to get an early start. We headed right to Downtown Disney and ended up eating at Bongos Cuban Resturant and just walking around for a bit before heading to bed. We were up early the next morning to check into our On Property resort, Art of Animation.

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I love love loved Art of Animation! It has four areas: The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, Cars, & Finding Nemo. We had a family suite in The Lion King area. We already had our Magic Bands when we arrived so we just had to check in to activate them. It turns out they were updating their system when we tried to check in and they weren’t sure our Magic Bands would work in time for our Breakfast reservations or for our park tickets and fast passes, so they gave us hard copies of the park tickets and blank fast passes. Once the system came back online we still had our pre-booked fast passes as well!

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One of the biggest tips I give to people who ask about how we plan is to invest in the Deluxe Dining Plan and make your dining reservations in advance. With the Deluxe Dining Plan each person gets to order an Appetizer, Entree, and Dessert at each meal, along with 2 snacks per day. With the plan you aren’t stressed about spending money on food and you can just enjoy your meals! We try to book Character Breakfasts’ with the Dining Plan so we don’t spend our time in the parks chasing down characters, they just come to our table while we eat! Our first meal on Wedneday was at the Grand Floridian at 1900 Park Fare. The food was great. Breakfast is one of my favorite meals because they have Mickey Waffles! Seriously, there is something magical that makes those waffles taste amazing. The characters at this breakfast were a bit out of Payton’s realm. We saw Mary Poppins, who I’m not sure she really knew. It also had Alice & the Mad Hatter, she was clueless on those as well. Tigger and Winnie the Pooh also showed up, which she was excited for.

After breakfast we were able to just take the monorail to Epcot, where we planned to spend half the day. epcotfamily

We planned on using our fast passes and riding all the big rides like Test Track, Mission: Space, and Soarin’. We started out with Test Track, which has changed a big since we last rode it. You get to design your own car and see how it measures up in different test areas like power, safety, and efficiency. I’m pretty sure every one just tries to build the fastest car they can! Payton picked the decorations for our car, isn’t it cute?

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After that we headed to Mission: Space. I was a bit concerned about this one… I don’t always love this ride so I wasn’t sure Payton would love it. We started out heading towards the Green “less intense” side, but once we found out she was tall enough for the Orange “more intense” side we switched over. Poor girl had no idea what she was in for!

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All or nothing, I guess! She did really well, but said she didn’t like the tight feeling when we would accelerate. She liked when we were floating or driving, but not when we would blast off. This turned out to be the ride we used to rate all the other rides… “Is this like the Space Ship ride?” No, its not as bad as the space ship ride… haha. But she survived, I was pretty proud of her!

We also did the Nemo ride and played in the aquarium for a few minutes before heading to Soarin’. This ended up being her favorite ride of the day! After Soarin we headed over to walk through the World Showcase. We started in the United Kingdom where we had our lunch reservations at the Rose & Crown Pub. This is Chris’ favorite restaurant at Disney! It’s like spending a day in a real English Pub. I started with the Scottish Egg. I’ve heard a lot about these but don’t think I’ve ever tried one.  

Delicious Scottish Egg I had with lunch at The Rose & Crown in #epcot #normansdisney2014

A photo posted by Courtney Norman (@courtnorm) on

It was delicious! I also had the burger and Fries, which was fantastic. I had a Toffee Bread Pudding for dessert. After we finished we walked through the rest of the World Showcase. Payton loved hearing the different music and trying to guess what each world was.

We conquered Epcot in record time thanks to our ample supply of fast passes! We didn’t wait in line at all. We took the monorail back to the Grand Floridian where we parked and then headed back to finish checking into Art of Animation now that our room was ready.

After checking in and resting for a bit we headed back out to Animal Kingdom.

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We wanted to take Payton on Dinosaur and Expedition Everest. Going in more of an off season, Animal Kingdom wasn’t that busy at all. We barely waited in line and got right on both rides. Dinosaur is always fun, but I was most excited to take her on Expedition Everest. It was her first “real” roller coaster! She absolutely loved it! Even if she had her eyes closed half the time.

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We also did he It’s Tough Being a Bug show and joined in a few of the dance parties going on aroud the park. Animal Kingdom closes earlier than the other parks, I imagine it is because as it starts to get dark all the animals go hide for the night. We headed back to the hotel to rest and clean up for dinner. We had reservations at Boma, the African themed buffet at Animal Kingdom Lodge. The dinner was great with a large buffett of all different types of food. Meat, Salads, Soups, all kinds of flavorful food! Plus an amazing dessert buffett. They had a fun bongo dance party that Payton loved.

Day 1 at Disney was a long day, but SO fun!! We walked over 17 miles, without a stroller!! After dinner we were ready for bed… we knew we had another full day coming up as we planned on hitting Magic Kingdom all day the next day!

Have you ever been to Epcot or Animal Kingdom?
Do your kids (or you) like roller coasters?

Posted on by Courtney in Disney, life, travel Leave a comment

Trust The Process

When I think about things to share on my blog I often think about things I want other people to hear. Other times, like today, it’s more of a reminder to myself to practice what I preach. All too often I forget where I was when I first started on this journey. Chronically tired, out of shape, embarrassed, overwhelmed. I’ve come so far in the last 4 1/2 years. But I obviously didn’t start where I am today. It has been a process, a journey.


I started walking. Then walking alternated with running. When I started I could barely run 30 seconds at a time. Then I got the crazy idea to run a marathon. And I did it. I followed a training plan and I trusted the process.

I ended up being able to run far, not fast, but far. I went from an 18-20 minute walking/jogging mile to an average 12-13 minute mile. From barely going 1 mile to over 20 miles.  This took time. It was a process. Then I started CrossFit. And I’m pretty sure I was at a deficet when it came to strength. I couldn’t hold myself up on the pull up bar at all. I could barely navigate the use of the barbell. I still remember the first time I clean and jerked 95lbs as my 1 rep max. Just last month I did that 30 times in under 4 minutes for the workout “Grace”


For months I struggled every single workout. Burpees brought me to tears. My mindset going into every workout was “just keep moving. just survive” – I couldn’t even wrap my head around the idea of doing well. It was more like “don’t die” than trying to kill a workout.

Eventually I started to get stronger, faster, more confident. I just kept doing it day after day and I got better. This year I decided I wanted to train for an Olympic Lifting competition. So I followed a specific Olympic Lifting program. I got stronger in my Snatch and Clean & Jerk. I entered, and won, my first Olympic Lifting Competition.

And now here I am. After having major {elective} surgery with my abdominoplasty/skin removal and finding myself frustrated with my current performance. Not only was my body put through some major trauma with this surgery, but I was also out of the box completely for 6 weeks, and really out of my normal level of intensity for about 10 weeks. I knew I would be weaker coming back, I just didn’t imagine it would bother me as much as it does. The most frustrating part is knowing how hard I worked for the progress I had and watching how easily it slipped away. I mean, I had struggled and struggled for years to get a rope climb. It was just recently this year that I finally got that rope climb. Now I can’t even get in one good pull on the rope. It feels like I’m lightyears away from where I want to/think I should be. I just have to keep reminding myself to trust the process. It took time to get there the first time, It will take time to get there again. And it will take even more time to progress beyond that. I know CrossFit works. I know how to get stronger. I just have to put in the work. Show up, do the work. That is how you see the results. It is a process. Embrace it. You won’t always be where you currently are if you put in the work. I want to be stronger, faster, better. So I will put my nose to the grindstone and do the work I know it takes to get there. Every damn day. Because I’m worth it. My dreams and goals are worth it.

Have you ever had to remind yourself to trust the process?

Posted on by Courtney in CrossFit, FitFluential, life, weight loss 2 Comments

I’m Done Coasting

Today is 12 weeks, or 3 months, since my Abdominoplasty/Skin Removal. I knew going into it that I wanted to take it easy for the first 3 months. Like I said in my last post, I just wanted to coast through recovery to give my body time to heal. I had to prepare myself mentally to scale back on workouts and I wanted to give my mind a break when it came to eating. The first 6 weeks were hard, I hated not working out. Then when I got back in the gym it was tough to get my head in the game because I felt so weak when I started back. Over the last 6 weeks I was trying to build my base back up. I was enjoying my new body, not being strict on foods, and just giving my best in the workouts.


Now that I’ve made it to the 3 month mark I’m done coasting. I don’t want to lose any momentum. I’m ready to see what this newly revealed body is capable of. This means starting a focused training program. I’ll be switching to afternoon workouts for the first time in yeeeeaaaars. It should be interesting. (Sidenote: A common misconception about running a gym/box is that you can workout whenever you want. False! You have to put your clients training above your own… that means you workout whenever you can!) I also need to start paying more attention to my food. I just got a new meal plan set up from Precision Fitness STL and I’m going to stick as close to it as I can while maintaining my sanity. If I want to go further than I’ve ever gone I’m going to have to get a little more uncomfortable. If you want to grow you have to go outside your comfort zone!


There is always the temptation to just stay here for awhile. To keep coasting. I’ve come so far. It would be so easy to just stay here. I’m healthy, I’m fit, I’m happy. Isn’t that good enough? Well, yes. And no. I could very easily stay here. Here isn’t a bad place. But every single part of my journey to fitness has made me push myself beyond just good enough. I know I have so much more to give. My body is capable of SO much more. Are there going to be days I mess up? Yup. Do I want to go to that “crazy” place of obsessing over food and working myself to death? Not at all. My short term focus goal right now is the CrossFit Open coming in the Spring. I want to confidently walk into it knowing that I can do at least one of whatever movements they throw out there. I want to be strong. I want to see more of my muscles pop out. Like I said in my post last week, I’m learning to be ok with the number on the scale… that Isn’t my main focus here. I want to have performance based goals. I want to fuel my body for performance. I want to keep growing as an athlete and a coach. I can’t wait to see what this body is capable of!

What have you done outside your comfort zone?

Posted on by Courtney in CrossFit, FitFluential, life, plastic surgery, weight loss 1 Comment
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