We took our ONE year old to Disney World

 

We broke down and took our one year old to Disney World. I was sure that I would never take her until she was at least three which is when I thought she would best appreciate it, but when an impromptu trip to Orlando came up, we figured why not?! The problem is, I had never been to Disney World myself – not since I was about 7 years old (maybe?) I truly do not remember how old I was – and then I went once again in high school when we used to Dance for Disney Music Days. Either who, I had no references on how to prepare to take my child to Disney World and ensure that we wouldn’t be just pushing her around LOOKING at rides. I didn’t even know if SHE liked rides.

This was going to be an adventure for sure!

I of course took to google to see if anyone had at least written something that I could garner some tips but what I did find helpful is Disney’s Mom Panel. There were some really great tips on there as well.

However, let me give you a bit of my own advice.

Tip #1: DON’T WAIT UNTIL YOU HAVE TO PAY TO SEE IF YOUR CHILD LIKE DISNEY… take them as early as you can. Let them get used to the idea of Disney World while it’s not costing you and then take them back again when you have to pay for them and pay for the memories. Disney World doesn’t charge for anyone under 3 years old.

Tip #3: PLAN AS MUCH OF YOUR TRIP AHEAD AS POSSIBLE. I will elaborate on how to further do this, but it is crucial! If you want to beat lines and have on-going fun get familiar with the websites and what they offer and make sure you plan an itinerary EVEN IF you are a go with the flow kind of person. Trust me on this one.

Tip #3: DRESS THEM IN THE CUTEST DISNEY THEMED GEAR YOU CAN FIND! It’s all a part of the experience.

(Yes, I have on a Frozen T-Shirt and yup Gracie got more than a few things from Disney even though I told myself she was only allowed to have ONE souvenir).

 

 

My husband and I consider ourselves to be “Travel with Children” masters. We have been traveling with Gracie on airplanes since she was 3 months old and not once was she a bad traveler. We pick times for flights that coordinate with nap times and skip the rush of the frequent travelers. After all, when you are traveling for fun – there is NO RUSH!

 

 

We get so excited especially when we Master the Art of wearing our Toddler out before we get too tired to enjoy ourselves on our trips! We used to burn ourselves out with lugging all of her strollers (yup the big boy britax and the umbrella stroller) and the car seat, etc… and decided let’s just see what its like to rent a car seat with our car rental and found that it was so much easier on my anxiety to worry about one less thing. Especially since on this trip I was hand patted down because I was carrying baby food and eczema lotion by an aggressive TSA woman who was blamed for letting something pass. Either who… usually, we are all smiles. And we were the MOST excited for this new experience.

Now, to the planning ahead piece. Get a Fast Pass+ from Disney!!! Do IT~

Here is why.

You can select up to three rides for free that you know you want to beat the line for and they automatically draw up an itinerary for you to make sure that you are able to get to your ride. During that time slot that you select, you are able to ride the ride as many times as you want within that hour. My advice to you, pick the rides that have the longest wait times then wait for the others.

We went to the Magic Kingdom on a Sunday. I am not sure what the crowds are like on any other day, but that day worked best for us. We were able to get in the park with little wait time. We went to Magic Kingdom first and then went to Disney’s Hollywood Studios second. The later you enter the park, the closer your parking space will be.

I linked our park tickets and our ride itinerary to our Fast Pass+ bracelets so that when we arrived, all we had to do was go directly to the gate and wave our wrist in front of the reader. There was no need to go to will call or anything.

We brought our stroller with no issues because there were stroller parking at each ride and had no issues fearing leaving our baby bag or anything as there were attendants who would come from time to time to rearrange the parking situation.

Gracia’s first ride ever was the Buzz Lightyear’s Space Rangers Spin. It had great reviews by the Mom’s Panel. It was a bit of a risk because there was no description of the ride but now that I know what it is, I am not sure if I would’ve taken her based on the description: Its a ride where you get in a moving cart, in the dark and shoot glow in the dark aliens with a ray gun for points. For a one year old? YUP!

She loved it! She loved moving the cart from one side to the other, she loved shooting the aliens in the dark. She loved it so much we went on more than once. Thanks to the Fast Pass it was doable without taking up too much of our time.. and did you know that you can link your credit card to it as well so that all you had to do was wave your arm at concessions versus bringing in your card with the chance of losing it. You can also link all of your photo ops as well and download it for later! (no this isn’t a sponsored post – I was just so hype! that they made it so easy)

 

  

WHICH BRINGS ME TO WHY I LOVE DISNEY: My husband and I were both able to fit in all the rides …together. We are not short people (he is 6’3) nor are we slim people (I have hips and thighs). Gracia was able to sit between us or on our lap. Disney is made for Families! When we went to Universal Studios, it was not the case at all.

 

When the lines were long at Winnie the Pooh, they had things for the kids to keep busy with so they don’t just fall out screaming and crying because the wait was too long.

 

Bring extra clothes for the kiddies. It rained on us and so she was in hot, wet clothes… so after a quick change she was ready to go enjoy more of the park.

 

The ONLY thing I wanted to do was to take her to the live Frozen show, which was AMAZING!

Imagine every little girl who knows all the words, singing Karaoke to the most popular songs in the movie along with seeing the characters live on stage. It felt like church in there during “Let it Go!”

Gracie had such a great time she was singing GOOOOO GOOOOO for a while after we left Disney. She later ended up getting a Frozen themed table for our house and immediately she screamed with joy because she knew that it was the characters from Disney World. She always wants to sit with Anna.

We were also there during the launch of the Star Wars Weekend. There were so many Star Wars specific things and items for purchase… this may be blasphemous to some, but I am just not a huge Star Wars fan, so the light show and the party at the end of the night at Hollywood Studios allowed extra time for us to get into the studio shows with no lines.

 

Of course when we took Gracie to the Disney Junior section she did not want to leave. Her favorite is Sophia the First. It’s why she had a Sophia the First birthday theme party for her 1st Birthday. I let her play in all the scenes. I think a little too long because she didn’t want to leave.

All in all, my one year old had a GREAT time at Disney and so did we. We made great memories and although she may not remember. She will know that we took her through stories and pictures and of course we will do it again.

She picked out this Minnie Back Pack as her one souvenir and we chose the matching hat for her to keep the sun off of her face at the park. She would not let anyone touch it or take it from her for WEEKS!

 

So never fear, Disney Magic is real.. even for younger kids.

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One Dress Changed My Life

You would think that I would be talking about this dress that I wore August 7, 2010.. but NOPE.

Ironically,  I am talking about another white dress.

A White Dress that I purchased to celebrate my 5th year Wedding Anniversary on August 7, 2015.

I was out shopping with my mom and we went through the dress section. After getting married and gaining love weight and then baby weight, I reminisced on a time in which it wasn’t so hard to find something off the rack that I wanted to wear and wasn’t bound to perhaps two stores.

When I got married, I got down through bridal bootcamps to a size 10. I ordered my wedding dress in a 12 and was determined NOT to pay extra for plus sizes.

I saw this dress …

and tried it on and saw my fluffy gut and how the dress rose above my thighs because it just was not fitting right. I thought it was too pretty and used it as motivation to get myself back together! I had been on supplements and felt better than ever, but beyond getting out of my bed to go to work and walking to get lunch, I was not doing a single fitness anything.

 SO… What did I do? I purchased the dress anyway and made it my mission (and the mission of my household) to go on a diet!I decided I needed someone to tell me what to eat and when to eat it in order to meet my goal. I am not too disciplined in the area of making up a meal plan. The one that I found to be the best was Dr. Ian Smith’s Shred Diet Plan. It was super simple and I liked the promise of losing 2 sizes in 6 weeks because thats exactly what I needed to do in order to look decent in that dress. I felt like I had done a decent job of getting baby weight off but I wasn’t consistently getting anything off or keeping it off… lets face it – I love food. I am a self proclaimed foodie. I took a picture of where I started and went from there. 

I was off to a good start  – then about day 3 or 4 where I had to get creative with the two vegetables that I was allowed to have with my protein, I got bored.

 I started making stuff like Jalapeño Sweet Potatoes and sautéed Kale.

Amos was about threw with me and this diet probably after week one, but he stuck it out with me.

I had to start looking for things on the menu that I could eat that would fit within my diet.

I fell in love with this Ahi Tuna salad at Matchbox Restaurant.

I had to pick a cardio that I was supposed to do at least 5 times a week.

I decided that my cardio would be 250 reps on a weighted jumprope and a youtube fitness instructor led class. I wanted to eliminate the excuse of not being able to go to a gym.

What didn’t help is that I had to host two Ice Cream Socials for Probation and Parole Week —

I HAD to cheat… I admit I have zero will power, but I made it up for it with an equally bland and super low calorie dinner.

I leaned to my friends for encouragement and motivation and would send them pictures of my food to hold me accountable… except they would send me pics like this back.

I signed up for every exercise opportunity that they offered at work.

Even tried some kind of cardio square kickboxing thing…

AND. IT. KICKED. MY. BUTT.

But after 6 weeks – I GOT IN MY DRESS!!!!

Have you ever tried a diet program or set a fitness goal that kicked your butt?!

Needless to say, I will try this again…. much later on.

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Easing Hair Maintenance with Nuby Tear-Free Rinse Pail

 My child is one of those that has had a lot of hair since birth. The length is relative however, she has always had a full head of hair. It can grow and shrink based on the humidity. It also sheds and changes texture as well. It cooperates when it wants to and as you can imagine, my child does not LOVE to get her hair done. She tolerates mommy running my fingers through her hair but the sitting down to do something with it requires time, patience and the occasional snack, toys and bottle.

Gracia has had hair that grew in length at the same time changed from straight to extremely coily.

One thing that I have learned in trying to figure out what texture my daughter’s hair will be is that in order to best care for her hair, it has to be consistently moisturized. The best moisture for her hair which is coarse and absorbent is water or water based products.

The only downside to that means that Gracia would need to have her hair washed fairly frequently and for a child who has chronic double ear infections, water is not our friend.

I had to find a way to wash the hair of a toddler who constantly moves and flinches without getting a drop of water into her ears – and of course keeping the soap out of her eyes.

Then I was given the chance to review Nuby’s Tear Free Rinse Pail. It seemed like the best thing to try in order to solve the issue of washing hair, especially since Gracia had surgery on her ears earlier this year.

Nuby sent me this Pink and Purple one to try with Gracia to see if it would suit my needs.

 

One thing for certain, if you know an almost two year old, you know that they are entering the phase of “I want to do it myself!” Gracia thought it was a bucket for her. I let her believe that for the moment because I didn’t even want her to think that she is about to get her hair washed to avoid tears.

 

We have had the chance to use it for months and it is a staple at bath time.

Whether I am cowashing her hair or using shampoo, it actually solved the issue of avoiding the water from running down her face and into her ears.

For best use, I simply tilt her head back into my hands. I don’t fill the bucket to the top but to a level in which I can easily control the pour and place the silcone base along her forehead and let the water drip down.

She loves it and so do I.

 

If you have a child that is not loving the head over the sink experience and gets flustered with the soap and water running into the eyes, mouth, nose and ears… I really would recommend this product for wash day AND it appears to be Gracia’s favorite toy to capture her foam letters in – so I consider that a WIN WIN for bath time!

Wanna get one?

Here’s the deets:

The Nuby Tear-Free Rinse Pail

The Tear-Free Rinse Pail is another great Nûby™ product designed to make bath time easier and more enjoyable for you and your little one. It features a comfortable grip for mom, a deep, slender base for easy filling in shallow water and a unique tear-free edge. The tear-free edge is soft and contoured so it can be gently placed against your baby’s skin to help prevent water from running into your baby’s eyes while rinsing their hair.

  *Just so you know, I was only given the product to review, and no further compensation – full disclosure   

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Easter and Egg Rolls

Easter has come and gone and I am just about to tell you all about how it was… (I would insert an apology for being away so long right about here, but then I realized – hey you’re one person who works, is a wife a mommy to a toddler and then some and its just a blog and its yours so carry on). This was my baby girl’s first Easter where she would be walking. Her first Toddler sized Easter and boy was I excited. I knew that I wanted to go all out as far as Traditional. I searched high and low and purchased options even. In the end I settled on this outfit which she loved! Complete with hat, pearls, ruffle socks and white patent leather shoes. 

I absolutely am loving the toddler years! She has a few words but can totally communicate and express what she wants and its so much fun to see her little personality blossoming. She is one who is absolutely happy all the time but grumpy when she is sick.
She kept her hat on for most of the day but took it off towards the end of church. I had cornrowed her hair straight back just so her hats would sit on her head just right. One thing about Gracie, she is truly her daddy’s child. She knows what a microphone is for and loves to sing.
No surprise here – With her bottle in one hand and microphone in the other at age one – trust me I am saving this picture for when she gets older so that she can see how she was as a child.

 Its so crazy how much she has grown from last year when we took our annual picture in front of the HUGE tomb feature that my husbands church has on Easter. 
In regards to weight loss which was one of the things that I was working on- I was even scared to try this dress on in the store and kept milling about it because it was a size smaller than I am used to wearing on a good day and my husband just shouted for me to try it on already. I was SO happy when it fit and with ease. Its so good to know that gradually I am coming back down to my goal weight – I want to be curvy fit just to make that very clear. LOL. 
 We had reservations for Easter Brunch at the Golf Clubhouse and they had a small Easter Egg hunt for the kids in attendance. This was Gracie’s first Easter Egg Hunt and she did so good.  She doesn’t really get the concept of gather as many as you can but she got enough to look at and would say “Ooo” when she spotted another one.

She didnt want to come back to where we were to take a family picture because she was afraid that we were going to take her Easter Eggs from her. 

Daddy was trying to show her how to Hula Hoop…. that was clearly short lived.
He enjoyed it though. LOL

 …………………………………………
The next morning the whole family was off to the White House for this years Easter Egg Roll.
We were so fortunate to be able to go again this year and this time we were able to go with our Parents which made it all the more memorable.
Here is mom dukes and Gracie..
Mind you this day started off rather cool and turned into a rather hot day, so some of these layers definitely came off baby girl.
From here on out its pretty self explanatory – We did have such a great time on the lawn of the White House. She really isn’t of age to participate in the crafts and games but she enjoyed the stage performances and seeing all of her favorite characters.

She was way past her nap time out there and the only thing that kept her calm was holding these two eggs that she got from this booth that shows where eggs come from and how you get them at the store. There was no way that you could take those from her if you tried.
Exhibit A: We were on the way home and she fell asleep and see where those eggs are – still in her hands..

In the month of April, Gracie turned 16 months old.  It trips me out the amount of non-children having people, particularly the men that I work with,  tell me about counting the months after one years old, however as a parent or person who works closely with Toddler you will know that there is a huge difference in understanding and the milestones therefore expectations when you are dealing with a 12 month old and a 16 month old. 
So, Happy 16 Months Boo Boo.

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Freshly Picked Moccasins Review

Our daughter Gracia is now 15 months old. She started walking around 11 months old, closer to her first birthday and has not looked back since! When she started walking we noticed that it appeared that she may be pigeon toed, which is not too far fetched since I was as an infant. The initial focus as she was learning was finding shoes that would strengthen her ankles. Then as she would begin to fall and attempt to pick herself up, we noticed that the more flexible sole would assist her better in being able to get back up on her own. 
We looked for shoes with no laces and still do since she has a new found fascination with her feet. Nothing like having to worry about her tripping over her laces when she was already tripping over air. In my search, I began to follow some brands on Instagram to consider. 
An opportunity came to collaborate with Freshly Picked and I couldn’t have been more excited to try these Moccasins out. They were so cute and fit all of our shoe must haves. 
I chose the Salt Water Taffy color, which I would describe as the perfect lilac color. When I opened the box, I inspected the shoes and noticed they had elastic that was perfectly hidden under the leather that would allow for me to not have to struggle to get the shoe on Gracia’s foot but not too loose that she could figure out how to rip it off her foot and lose it some where. 

Gracia’s feet measure at about 5.45″ so we chose a size 5 for her. Freshly Picked makes it really easy to figure out what size shoe is best for your child with their easy to read sizing chart. I knew that she would have some room for her feet to move and for her to grow into over the spring. Interestingly enough she hadn’t had a growth spurt in her feet – that is until recently. 

This would be her first time walking in soft sole shoes so I was intrigued to see how she would respond. I actually anticipated her walking around like she had on swim flippers for some reason, wondering what it was that I had put on her feet. I let her get familiar first just so that she would understand that they are shoes and go on her feet. 
We put them on her and took her outside. Time to break these bad boys in!
Now my initial guess was that with all the running and tumbling on the cement it would mean that she was going to scuff up her new shoes. Mind you, I have had to return shoes that had gotten destroyed after first wear and that was when she wasn’t even walking. So I held my breath as we went outside to play on the first warm day of Spring for our area. 

After a while, chasing her up and down the side walk became a game to her.
She LOVED them. Thats all a mother really wants to know is if this child who is so picky will keep these shoes on her feet and will she be able to truly play and have a good time in them. The best part about them is …. THEY STAYED ON HER FEET! 
I wasn’t chasing behind her picking up shoes and trying to put them back on so that she could continue playing. We try our best to avoid “reasons why she’s crying” moments. I have picked her up from daycare with just her socks on because the shoes I sent her in were too heavy. 

Now came time to go back inside and I was hoping that she hadn’t done so much damage on the cement and her running around that I wouldn’t want to put them back on her. 
Much to my surprise the bottoms of her soles were next to perfect!
I honestly thought she was scuffing all the beautiful color and logo off the bottoms and that these wouldn’t be a great play shoe. 

This is what they looked like once I took them off of her when we came inside

 
I can honestly say, that after this being our first time trying Freshly Picked moccasins, I would highly recommend them. The wear and tear is great. The color selection is even more fabulous! Our fashion style is focused more on dressing her in complimentary colors versus matching colors. They have a wide range of colors that fit right into a kids wardrobe because they aren’t so busy and can go with everything.
I was impressed.  Absolutely.  And the best part is … Gracia loves them!
We were able to giveaway a pair to one of our readers and hopefully we will be able to do it again in the future so that you can experience them as well. Until then, head over to their website and check out their latest clothing and shoe lines. You will not be disappointed. 
Special thanks to Iris Mannings for capturing our moments yet again! 

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