Emma Kate Does Disney: Part 1

I finally have some time to sit down and write out a recap out Emma Kate’s first Disney trip. Fair warning, it was a doozy. Poor EK was sick most of the trip and this made her cranky and miserable and everyone else cranky and miserable. I’m still so glad we got to go and experience it for the first time with her grandparents, but it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Read on anyway!

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Like I said EK had been sick with some sort of virus but her doctor put her on some medication just in case it was bacterial since we were going out of town. I picked her up after lunch from school, and we drove to my parents. Poor girl slept most of the way down. We hung out at my parents house that afternoon, and went to bed early. Emma Kate ended up having a rough night and neither of us got much sleep.

The next day, my dad and I had fun trying to pack all of our stuff and Emma Kate’s stroller in their car. We were able to get it all in, and we left for Florida around 10:00. We stopped in Biloxi and ate lunch, and soon realized it was going to be a long drive. Emma Kate slept about an hour but then fussed the whole rest of the way to Tallahassee where we were stopping for the night. After having trouble finding our hotel, we were all ready for a break so my mom and dad went to grab us some dinner and I stayed at the hotel with the sick one. It was yet again a night of little sleep for everyone (she did not want to sleep in the pack n play so ended up in bed with me, and the child does not lay still). We were optimistic though, and the next morning we hopped back in the car and headed for Orlando. EK slept about two of the four and a half hours, and cried the rest of the time which made for an interesting ride. Finally, we made it to my happy place, and pulled in to Saratoga Springs.

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Our room wasn’t ready yet, but that was ok so we decided to grab lunch in the food court and then take Emma Kate to the pool. Unfortunately, EK was tired of sitting so she lasted in the high chair all of 27 seconds before I had to take her outside. I ate about three bites of lunch (which would come to be a theme of the trip!) We walked around and played in the splash pad while my mom and dad ate lunch, then we all drove over to the super nice pool at the Paddock and changed there.

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I was really impressed with the play area. It was totally fenced in and had tables and chairs for the parents. There were two slides and it was zero entry all the way around. Emma Kate LOVED it and went down the slide about 50 times.

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After our rough start, I was so glad to see her having fun.

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Since we had a two bedroom villa, our original plan was to let my mom stay with Emma Kate while my dad and I went to the grocery store to get food for the trip. However, because our room wasn’t ready, we had to call an audible and just stay at the pool. We were all getting a little tired of waiting and finally at 4:00 our room was ready. We hurried over and unloaded, and then put Emma Kate in the stroller and walked to Disney Springs to activate our Annual Passes before heading to dinner at Whispering Canyon Café.

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Apparently all the running around at the pool wasn’t enough to tired her out, so EK wanted OUT of the stroller. This was a problem because there were people everywhere and she wanted to walk all on her own (another foreshadowing of the trip). We finally made it over to guest services, and ended up there for over an hour. They couldn’t get my parents Annual Passes to work for some reason, and so we just had to keep waiting. Meanwhile, Emma Kate had meltdown after meltdown because she wanted to go. We took turns going outside with her but she wanted me and only me so it made things difficult. We ended up missing our dinner reservations because we were there so long. EK was acting up so much that I was kind of glad. We ended up going to Earl of Sandwich and eating outside so EK could play in the splash pad and we could watch her.

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She had a LOT of fun with that (the kid loves water!) and made friends while she played. But, she had another meltdown when it was time to go. We walked back to Saratoga Springs ready for a good nights sleep before heading to the Magic Kingdom the next day.

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My dad and I ended up going to the grocery store after Emma Kate went to bed, and I was so tired I just wanted to hurry and get back and go to sleep, which is exactly what I did. We had gotten off to a bumpy start, but we were hopeful that in the light of the next day things would be magical!

QOTD: Have you ever had a Disney trip start off as not so magical?

Back from Disney World

Hey friends! I am back from Florida. It has been a whirlwind week and a half, and it is so good to be home! If you will recall when we left for Disney Emma Kate was sick, and let’s just say we have had better Disney trips. She was super cranky and fussy (rightfully so) and keeping it real, it really stressed us all out. Her fever broke the day we got to Disney but that didn’t stop her craziness. I’m not sure if she was just super tired, or overwhelmed or what, but I have never seen her act the way she did in Disney…she was a hot mess! I think not knowing what to expect was difficult on us, and let’s just say I need a vacation from my vacation. We for sure still had fun and happy moments, and I can’t wait to share them with you over the next couple of weeks. You will get the good, the bad and the ugly of taking a very strong willed two year old to Disney. Smile I loved seeing her meet the princesses, ride the rides, and experience my happy place. Of course there is still so much more I want to show her, but we got a good start on getting her obsessed with Disney just like the rest of the family. She said cute things like “BIG CASTLE!” and “Pluto has a big tongue” and “Emma Kate and Minnie Mouse!”

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My parents recently bought into the Disney vacation club and generously used their points for our trip, and getting a two bedroom villa was for sure the way to go. We could put Emma Kate to bed at night and still hang out in the living room without having to be quiet. We were on the first floor of Saratoga Springs and it was great to let her just walk out of the patio and out to the grass or playground. Having a full kitchen and washer and dryer was a plus, too!

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Our room was on the bottom right behind the bench in the back of the photo.

Also having our car was the way to go because we didn’t have to wait in long bus lines with a toddler having a meltdown. We still were able to ride the ferry and the monorail which Emma Kate liked.

My dad and I went to the grocery store the first day to get groceries so we cold eat snacks and breakfast in the room each day to save money. We also grilled outside by the playground the last night which was a lot of fun. Emma Kate loved the pool/kids water play area and we went there three or four times in the afternoon after nap.

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I feel like my thoughts are so scattered right now and I will get more specific when I give you my daily recaps, but I did want to check in and let yall know I am still alive and that you will hear more about the trip. I hope everyone had a great week!

QOTD: Were your expectations too high the first time you brought your child on vacation?

Frozen Birthday Party

On Saturday, we had Emma Kate’s second birthday at our yogurt shop, Orange Leaf. I was not nearly as creative as last year, and everything was kind of last minute, but we still had a great time! I feel like having a party at our house last year was a “rookie new mom mistake”. It was super stressful not only getting things ready for the party, but deep cleaning the house and then cleaning up after. Having it at another location is the way to go!

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We had a little bit of food like donut holes, fruit, chex mix, and deviled eggs (and of course cake and frozen yogurt!) We kept it simple with bottled water and kool-aid in a cooler under the table. The Frozen decorations were bought at Wal-Mart, and the utensils, tablecloth, balloon holders, and a couple of the plastic trays I got at the Dollar Tree. We had a helium tank from Wal-Mart leftover from last year’s party, too.

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The birthday girl was way too busy to smile for pictures.

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Except when it comes to her daddy. She always smiles for him! her shirt is from Etsy, and her skirt is from Wal-Mart.

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Emma Kate was so good and sat in her chair and ate fruit, froyo, and cake the whole time!

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We had a lot of special friends and family attend, and the shop was a great place to let the kids run around and go nuts.DSC_0009

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My mom made Emma Kate’s cake. After paying $45 for a cake last year, we decided on the homemade route and it came out great! We did a boxed mix but used homemade icing which was amazing. I will forever use this icing when I make anything! (It may or may not have had 4 sticks of butter in it!)

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Lately, Emma Kate has been all about singing the happy birthday song, so she was mesmerized when everyone started singing it to her.

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She wasn’t so sure about blowing out the candles, and to avoid a spit on cake, Bobby blew them out for her. We used food coloring for two of the layers of the cake, and I think it came out great! The Frozen characters on top are from Amazon, and the banner on the cake is from Etsy.

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This pictures cracks me up. Unfortunately I didn’t think to do a photo with all the kids and a bunch of them had already left, but we rounded up who was still there and tried to get a photo. The parents were all jumping around trying to get the kids to look. It was awesome.

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The little boy, Emma Kate, and the little girl on the right were all born within a week of each other! So fun to watch them grow over the past two years.

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We had a great time celebrating our girl and can’t believe she will be two in a couple of weeks. I really loved the low stress party we did this year. We just have so many other things going around, I honestly didn’t have any more energy to put into it than what I did. I still think she had a great time. I know I did.

QOTD: Favorite party theme or location? Do you prefer a party at your house or somewhere else?

5 Things Friday XXII

We made it to Friday! I know my blogging has been a little erratic the last few weeks and I apologize. I have a good reason, hopefully I will be able to tell you all soon! For now, enjoy my 5 things for Friday.

1.) Hair Help: Confession. I haven’t gotten my hair cut in about a year. I was determined to not “give in” to the frustrating and oppressive heat that usually causes me to chop my hair off in the summer. While I am happy to say I made it through the worst of it, my hair has seen better days. It is so thick, that on my first day back at boot camp on Monday, even with two ponytail holders in my hair, my ponytail kept sliding down the side of my head due to the weight. I had had enough. Even though I was sweaty and disgusting, I drove straight to the salon, got a trim, and asked her to thin the heck out of my hair. When she was done, it looked like a small dog was laying on the mat. I wish I would have taken a picture. Anyway, I feel much lighter and better now that I got some hair help. Anyone else have to get their hair thinned?

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2.) Macros: My trainer at the gym convinced me to try out counting macros. I am usually NOT a fan of counting calories etc, it’s way too restrictive and time consuming for me and I would rather just go by how I feel, but after my last weigh in/body fat test last week I left feeling frustrated. I have lost 3 pounds since May, but my muscle mass has somehow gone done and my body fat is slightly elevated. I’m going to start lifting heavier, and she suggested I just try out counting macros for a bit so I’m giving it a whirl. What I have learned in two days is that I need to eat less fats and carbs but more protein, which I am finding difficult!

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3.) Olympic Emotions: Wow. This week was such a heart breaker for my USA volleyball girls April and Kerri. I really thought they would get that gold. It’s so tough to lose any game, but I can’t imagine losing such a huge match that you have worked so hard for. However, I’m super happy for my gymnastics girls, and proud of how our marathon girls represented last weekend. So inspiring!

4.) Flood Relief: The national news media has done a TERRIBLE job of covering the flooding and devastation in south Louisiana just 45 minutes from where I grew up. Y’all, it’s bad. Over 40,000 homes destroyed, 11 people have died, over 10,000 people in shelters. So many have lost everything. I have had a couple people ask how they can help. If you are local, there are so many places taking up items. Tomorrow, our local Lowe’s is having a “fill a truck” drive all day, and our gym is collecting things like diapers, toiletries, and wipes. My church is also collecting every day, and sending out several relief teams on day trips if anyone is interested in going. Samaritan’s Purse (they do the Christmas child shoeboxes that I love), are sending disaster relief teams and supplies, and you can donate to them online here. Do a google search or go to nola.com to see pictures and other ways you can help.

5.) Happy Birthday: Emma Kate’s birthday is September 24th, but we have decided to have her party early, on Labor Day weekend. We will be having a Frozen themed party at our yogurt shop (get it, frozen yogurt? haha). We are going to keep it fairly simple, just a fun time to hang out and eat some snacks and yogurt with friends. Emma Kate loves princess Elsa so this should be fun!

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QOTD: Any frozen party ideas? Thoughts on the Olympics so far? Do you count macros?

Disney Trip Itinerary

As I have mentioned here before, we are taking a family trip to WDW at the end of October. My parents recently bought DVC, and the contract finally went through in the spring, so we planned our first trip for when the weather cools off just a touch. Having never been to Disney with a toddler, I am very aware that my “plans” may not end up happening, but I still wanted to (loosely) plan things so we at least have some sort of structure. As far as rides etc. at the parks, there is nothing that I just HAVE to do, except for the new Frozen ride and Soarin. This trip is about Emma Kate and what she wants to do. With that being said, here are our tentative plans.

Tuesday Oct. 25:

Depart Louisiana at nap time/after lunch/ Drive halfway, stop for the night in Tallahassee.

Wednesday Oct 26:

Drive the other four or so hours to Disney, arrive at Saratoga Springs around lunch. Check into 2 bedroom villa. Either go to the pool or Disney Springs after nap. Dinner at Rainforest Café at Disney Springs.

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Thursday Oct 27:

Magic Kingdom in the morning. Back to Saratoga for lunch and nap. Back to the Magic Kingdom in the afternoon for early Crystal Palace dinner (3:30 was the only reservation open). We will stay until around 6:30, then back to the resort for bedtime.

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Friday Oct 28:

Hollywood Studios in the morning. Animal Kingdom in the afternoon after nap. Mom and dad go to dinner alone at Narcoossees, Bobby and I watch Emma Kate. Not sure yet what we are going to do. Maybe Disney Springs to play in the water fountains and eat at Earl of Sandwich.

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Saturday Oct 29:

Magic Kingdom in the morning. After nap, come back to that area for Chef Mickey’s brunch, then more Magic Kingdom in the afternoon if Emma Kate is hanging in there. Bobby and I go to dinner alone that night, and my mom and dad watch Emma Kate. We will probably just go to EPCOT and eat around the Food and Wine festival.

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Sunday Oct 30:

EPCOT in the morning, nap at the resort then pool/grill/playground in the afternoon. We have some local friends coming over to BBQ. Disney Springs in the evening for ice cream.

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Monday Oct 31:

Get up and drive back to Louisiana. womp womp.

Thoughts on my plan? A lot of the afternoons are kind of open planning. We may end up back at parks certain days, and others we may not. We will just have to see what EK ends up enjoying the most. I am getting excited! We can make out fastpass+ reservations at the end of he month!

QOTD: Thoughts on my plan? What am I leaving out?

runDisney Star Wars Runners!

Guess what? Yesterday, I registered myself, Bobby AND Emma Kate for the runDisney Star Wars races! Yes, we haven’t even taken Emma Kate yet to Disney (she is going in October) and we are already planning a trip back in April for Star Wars!

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Bobby and I decided to just run the half marathon (my parents will be there to watch EK) and then she will do the kids race on Saturday. We have had our fill of challenges from Goofy to Dopey and me doing Glass Slipper, that we are fine just doing one race this time so we have more time (an sleep! and money!) on this trip.

I will say, I had quite the scare yesterday when I was trying to register the family. I registered myself just fine, but when I went to register EK and Bobby, it said they were already registered! I panicked, but after being reassured by some folks on Facebook, was told to wait a few minutes and try again in a different browser. I did, and was finally able to get all three conformations.

I have done many, many runDisney races, and offer lots of advice in my runDisney section, but the kids races will be a FIRST for me. So, I need all your best tips to make this the best possible experience for Emma Kate. Fire away, I need your help!

QOTD: Are you doing Star Wars? Any kids races advice for me?

Excitement

Ok y’all, so there is a lot of negativity going around the social media world right now. I can barely stand to get on Facebook because it makes me so sad. Because of this, I felt like doing a fun not so serious post today to remind me of all the happy and excitement that is still going on. Maybe you can take a quick break from reality with me today. Get excited!

1.) Olympic Fever: I can’t even begin to put into words what a HUGE Olympics nerd I am. I will be glued to my TV the entire time. it really doesn’t matter what sport it is. I just can’t get enough! That being said the two I am most looing forward to are Women’s Gymnastics, and all the volleyball action. I have been deleting things from my DVR to make sure I have space to record all the things.

4.) Birthday girl: Recently my mom asked if I had started planning Emma Kate’s 2nd birthday party. Uhh….no? I can’t believe her birthday is in two months, so I need to get busy. What do you think would be a good theme for a 2 year old?

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Photo from her 1st birthday party

3.) News this week: I would really appreciate your prayers on Thursday. We are finding out some information that could be a huge deal for my little family on that evening. That’s all I can share right now, just know it could be really good, or really disappointing, so I’m going to think positive!

4.) 3 months until Disney: Three months from TODAY we will be checking into my happy place for five days of fun! This will be Emma Kate’s first visit, and I can’t wait to see Disney World through her eyes. So much planning still to be done! You can bet there will be some matching shirt action happening as well. Oh just wait my friends. We are so going to be “that family”.

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5.) Affiliate fun: The launch of my eBook is going well, and I would love to offer up something to anyone who is interested. I am opening up an affiliate program for my eBook, where you would earn 35% of every book sold through a unique link I would set up for you. If you are interested, please email me at heather@heatherslookingglass.com and put the word “affiliate” in the subject line. I would also provide you with some photos if you would like to set them up on your blog or use them in social media posts. Let me know!

QOTD: What Olympic event are you most looking forward to watching? Any party theme ideas? Anyone heading to Disney this fall?

5 Things Friday XVIII

Happy Friday! Here are five things for you to start off your weekend.

1.) KIND snacks was nice enough to send me some of their NEW breakfast bars to try out. The are made with 100% whole grains, featuring five super grains – oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa – to keep you going throughout the day. Flavors include: Blueberry Almond, Honey Oat, Dark Chocolate Cocoa, (my fave!) Peanut Butter, and Raspberry Chia.

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2.) Yesterday, Bobby and I were involved in a wreck. We were rear ended when we were stopping at a red light. Thankfully, my Toyota 4Runner is a beast and while it will need some bumper work, it looks way better than the other ladies car. We were all three in the car and are all thankfully ok (and yes I know I need a new car seat.) But it happened on a day when we had multiple appointments to get to so it just kind of threw a kink in the already stressful afternoon. But cars can be fixed, so we are not worried about that.

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3.) Emma Kate had a follow up with the doctor who put her tubes in her ears and he said they looked great! We have to go back again in 6 months but I am so glad we went ahead with the surgery. She was getting infections twice a month and now she has only had two since November.

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4.) You can now book your Disney vacation package for most dates in 2017 (up to 499 days out) and I would love to book for you! Email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote.

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5.) More eBook news coming next week! I can’t wait to share more with you, and a huge thanks to those of you that have offered to help with social media posts during launch week. If you are still interested in doing a social media post for me during the pre sale or launch period, please email me at heather@heatherslookingglass.com

QOTD: Have you ever been rear ended? What is your favorite KIND bar flavor? Are you planning a Disney trip for 2017?

2017 Disney World Packages

Guess what? You can now book a Walt Disney World room or vacation package for dates in 2017! (499 days in advance, so currently as of end of June I can book through the end of October/beginning of November). 2017 Disney packages came out yesterday, and I have already been busy quoting for my clients.

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The best part about these packages is that it only requires a $200 deposit (for room only it’s a deposit of one night of the price of the room + tax) that’s it! Also, the balance isn’t due until 30 days prior to travel! You can make changes, switch dates, cancel, etc. up until that point.

I have been booking Disney travel for my clients over six years and would love to plan a vacation for your family. Common misconception: It does not cost you anything extra to book through me. Why wait on hold on the phone or stress about how the website works, or how to get discounts when I can do it for you, and give you all of my best tips and knowledge from years of experience? I can make it easy for you!

Heather plan your next DCL vacation

I can also book your Disneyland or Disney Cruise Line vacation for you, as well as Universal Studios Orlando. Simply email me for a free no obligation quote. I would love to get you started or answer any questions you may have. heather@travelwiththemagic.com is where you can find me. Let’s get to planning, I can’t wait for you to experience the vacation of a lifetime!

QOTD: Are you planning to visit Disney in 2017?

5 Things Friday XVIII

Happy Fri-yay! It’s a hot one here. Going to get up to 94! Lots to do today, but I wanted to pop in and share a few pieces of information with you. Have a great weekend!

 

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2.) Dessert or protein shake?: I found an amazing recipe on Pinterest for a delicious protein shake/smoothie that, I confess, I have been drinking 4-5 times a week for the past three weeks. It’s that good. It’s super easy to make (did anyone else know butter extract was a thing?) and it tastes delicious!

3.) Relight: I like nice and bright photos, but sometimes my iPhone pictures come out less than desirable, and some of the filters that look brighter also distort color in a way I don’t like, so I started using a free app called Relight and have had great results! Of course using my “big girl” camera would be better, but this is the next best thing for a quick touch up.

4.) WOW week: I’m old school and still call it VBS (vacation Bible school), but our church is hosting over 1200 kids this week and I have been volunteering some and having a blast! I’m so happy to be a part of a special church with an amazing children’s program. Emma Kate has been enjoying it too (she gets to come since I am a volunteer) and I can’t wait for her to be old enough to attend the “real thing”.

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5.) Bible Study: My small group at church will be doing a women’s Bible study in July and I have been trying to figure out what book we should use. I have a few that seem good I have been looking at but thought I would ask y’all if you have done anything lately you really liked? Looking for something a little on the short/light side for summer. Thanks for any suggestions you have!

QOTD: Did you attend VBS/WOW week as a kid? Any Bible study book ideas?