Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2014 Fall Feast Family Fun Day

Every year, with the exception of last year since Lilly Belle was just 2 months old, I host a Fall Feast Family Fun Day for our family :) I get so excited about it every year and love spending time with everyone all together. This year, we decided to make it even more fun and make it a costume party - which will definitely remain a tradition from now on (heads up fam fam). 

The cousins were all so cute in their costumes. Lilly Belle may request to borrow Caitlin's pony costume in a few years, Auntie Megan ;) We had a dragon, a pumpkin, a pony & a pirate princess all join us for the party this year! Us grown ups dressed up as pirates, a prisoner, a clown, Crazy Crab & in fun halloween shirts. 

A few of the traditions are that we eat Slow Cooker Chicken Chili with cornbread and rolls for dinner, and snack on Nuts & Bolts all day (trail mix). We also eat way too much candy corn and my homemade butterfingers and then all feel sick at the end of the night. I'll never stop making them though - so worth the tummy good! We also carve pumpkins. This year with it being at the beach house, I remembered to pack everything for the party except for our pumpkins. By the time it was time to carve, I was so wiped out from the day that I didn't participate, but I did enjoy watching :)

This year we added to the fun by playing a couple games as well. We played Halloween Bingo, which the kids were able to enjoy as well (minus Quenton who was napping). We also had the grown ups race to see who could mummify their partner the fastest using one roll of toilet paper. That game got a little cray cray - probably won't do that one again. Us grown ups played Cards Against Humanity and a fun Pictionary type game that we play.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dear Lilly Belle

Dear Lilly Belle,

I have not wrote you a letter in a long time and you are growing so fast! Every single day, you amaze me with something new. Your new favorite word to say is, Ariel, and you love to give Daddy high fives and "pound it." You even say, "Pshhh!" It's pretty adorable. You like to sing, The Wheels on the Bus, and can do most of the motions. You are still only 14 months're amazing. Tonight after dinner, we had a rare time together. Usually after dinner we put you immediately into the bath tub as you usually have a ton of food in your long hair. Tonight, you were oddly clean, so we skipped bath and played instead while Daddy watched a World Series game. You had a peg board and hammer that you were playing with. You would push all the pegs in with your thumb one at a time, and then flip the board over to start again. You did this for a good 10 minutes before you started to take them out and hand them all to me as a game instead. You would take one out, look at me and say, "there you goooo." You said it so clearly. We played for 20 minutes before you got up and walked towards your room saying, "Ni-Night." So...we put on your jammies and I nursed you before bed.

I really just cannot believe how big you are getting. This afternoon was the first time I noticed that you felt your feelings were hurt. We were at the Disney Store and you were playing in the play area with the big screen. There were lots of kids playing. You kept walking over to the touch screen to push the song selector. Another little girl who was probably 2.5, did not want you touching it and kept saying, "NO," to you. After she did that maybe twice with you not understanding, she pushed you a bit. Her mommy was on her phone and didn't really stop her. Then, she did it to you again. I was standing there all the while next to you, but wanted to let you try to work it out. The little girls mommy didn't do anything really once again but this time...your eyes went down, your lip began to turn into a full frown and then the tears started coming down. It wasn't a loud cry or even a scream or anger or any of that, it was pure sadness. You walked into my arms as I knelt down to you and you just curled up and cried. A mom behind me said, "Oh, your daughter is just too sweet, that was so sad. She is precious!" The mom of the little girl who pushed you apologized a bit and then they left. I really do think that you felt your feelings hurt because you just wanted to play by that little girl. I hurt for you and was so sad for you.

I will always be there for you when your feelings are hurt or when you are hurt in any way. I never want to see you hurting. The woman sitting near us was right. You really are so sweet and so precious. You have a big heart like your Daddy.

I am going to go to bed now as it is late and Daddy is going to be doing his homework longer than I thought. I just wanted you to have this letter. I don't want to forget these moments. I know there will come a day when you won't be so little cuddling into my arms. I soak up every single one of those cuddles. I love you so so much, my Lilly Belle! And remember, I'll always be there for you!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Disney Parks Moms Panel 2015 - Round Two!

Remember the post I shared last week about the 2015 Disney Parks Moms Panel?

Well...I have officially made it to Round 2! This is quite an accomplishment and I am really flattered and honored to have been chosen to make it this far. It has already been such a fun experience for me and I already feel like I am a part of something really special. I have joined a FB group for all of the hopefuls and it has been fun to get nervous and excited with all of them. It also feels great to have so many people cheering each other on; all hoping for the same end goal, but with no competitive feel. 

Even if I do not make it this year, I am so proud to have made it this far my first year applying. I already have plans to keep my life filled with Disney everyday even if I do not make the panel for 2015. 

Tomorrow is the big day when we find out what our essay and video questions will be. I am specializing in Disneyland, so I am excited to dive in and make a fun little video. Think trains...

We will not be given any information on the questions until tomorrow, but based on what everyone says from past years, I have a few ideas of what the questions might be and what my answers would be if so. We don't know when we will find out who has made it to Round 3 either. We do know that all 4 rounds will be complete and a panel for 2015 put together by November 22nd. So, with that in mind, we will know everything very soon! 

Our WDW/Disney Cruise vacation falls during the same dates as this years training date range, so depending on what the training dates end up being, I may have to drop out and try again next year. We'll see...

For now, I am excited about this opportunity and am loving the thought of this being something fun I get to try every year until I get it! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Walt Disney World Winter Vacation Packing Guide

In just 7 weeks we leave for Walt Disney World!  

I am a crazy planner, especially when it comes to Disney.
I already began packing for this trip months ago. I started buying Lilly Belle outfits for this vacation while she was still in the womb. Now that the trip is nearing closer and closer, I have designated an area of our closet specifically for our Disney outfits. 14 nights is a long time to be away, especially with a 16 month old! 

I thought it would be fun to do a few posts on our Disney packing tips! 

Tip #1: Layers! 
We suggest packing outfits with layers: hoodies, cardigans, sweaters, and light jackets. We have both lived in Florida in December and remember many nights that it got pretty chilly! I specifically remember shivering while waiting backstage in my elf costume before Mickey's Once Upon A Christmastime Parade. Mornings are cold as well. The temperatures are in the 70's on average. We suggest jeans and a short sleeve shirt with a sweater or light jacket on top.

Tip #2: Dress comfortably!
I'm not suggesting you wear your sweats to the parks everyday, but you definitely want to be comfortable as you'll be walking and getting in and out of attractions all day long. If you want to wear a comfortable dress, wear some leggings or shorts underneath so you're not worrying about showing any skin while getting in and out of the ride vehicles. Also make note that you will be taking pictures all day, everyday. Dress comfortably while feeling good about yourself at the same time. 

Tip #3: Comfortable shoes are a must! 
You may want to pack some band-aids as well. I always find that by Day 4, my feet are usually killing me. We always wear tennis shoes and flats to the parks. I can get away with flip flops, but that is because when we lived in FL and in the summer, I basically live in them! I really do not suggest wearing sandals, heels or any kind of strappy shoes. You may look adorable in them, but your blisters are going to kill by the 2nd day in the parks. It would suck to ruin your fun just because you wore cute shoes. 

And remember, yes, you are going to Florida, but it is still December. It does get cold and you may get away with wearing shorts and tanks at times, but most of the time, it's not hot. 

Now, for our Walt Disney World Packing List!
(Based on a 7-night vacation in December)

-underwear/bras (packing extra in case we go swimming)
-black, white & gray tank tops & cami tanks tops (one for each day)
-matching Disney family shirt (totally for fun)
-4 short sleeve tops
-2 or 3 3/4 sleeve & long sleeve tops (just in case it is a colder December)
-2 sweaters
-sweatshirt, hoodie or light jacket
-2 comfortable dresses
-black leggings
-2 pair of shorts
-1 pair of jeans
-1 or 2 swim suits
-Toms, flats, tennis shoes & most comfortable flip flops
-3 pair of pajamas
-toothbrush & tooth paste
-hair brush & hair ties
-curling iron, blow dryer & straightener
-hair spray
-perfume & deodorant
-travel size shampoo & conditioner (hotels will have some but I always forget to ask for more)
-razor & a few extra razor refills
-feminine products
-water bottle

-underwear/socks (packing extra in case we go swimming)
-white undershirts (one for each day)
-matching Disney family shirt (totally for fun)
-4 short sleeve tops
-2 or 3 button down & long sleeve tops (just in case it is a colder December)
-3 sweatshirts, hoodies or light jackets (my husband will probably buy another while we are there)
-3 pair of shorts
-1 pair of jeans
-1 or 2 swim suits
-tennis shoes & a nicer pair as well
-3 pair of pajamas
-toothbrush & tooth paste
-hair gel
-cologne & deodorant
-razor, an extra razor refill & shaving cream
-phone & charger
-water bottle

Lilly Belle (Toddler)
-4 or 5 white onesies
-matching Disney family shirt (totally for fun)
-2 or 3 dresses with tights
-4 or 5 pair of leggings
-2 or 3 pair of pants
-2 pair of shorts
-4 dresses
-2 or 3 sweaters or hoodies
-warm jacket for nights
-princess dresses
-diapers and wipes
-diaper rash cream
-baby soap/shampoo
-baby washcloths
-swim suits & towel (Disney does provide towels of course)
-swim diapers
-comfortable shoes
-blanket to wrap up in for naps in the stroller
-water bottle/sippy cup
-lunch box for snacks & lunch (post on this later)
-stuffed Minnie (Lilly Belle's favorite character)
-plane ride, attraction lines & calm down/quiet time activities (post on this later)
-Stroller Tag
-Ergo (baby carrier)
-Nursing cover

General Family 
-medicine if needed plus Tylenol, Advil or Ibuprofen
-phones & chargers
-Disney journal (we have a Disney vacation journal that we bring on all of our trips and write in each night when we get back to the hotel)
-DSLR camera & charger
-video camera & charger
-stocked diaper bag (post on that later)
-pens & sharpies for character meet n greets
-autograph book, pillowcase or photo mat (your choice what you use)
-iPad & charger
-nail clippers
-thermometer & covers (for Lilly Belle)
-gift cards
-Magic Bands
-daily itinerary (we use TripIt but I will also print and laminate a schedule for each day)
-hand sanitizer


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pumpkin Patch 2014 (#1)

On Sunday, we took Lilly Belle to Fox Hollow Farm in hopes of some fall fun and pumpkin picking.
Unfortunately, we were a bit disappointed with the farm and the fact that they charged $10.00 for Lilly Belle even though there were no safe activities for her. She did enjoy looking at the animals but since she still sucks her fingers and is new to walking, we didn't feel comfortable letting her go up to the free roaming sheep, goats, chickens, geese or ducks. It was nice to be together as a family & was fun to watch Lilly Belle waddle around in her pigtails & overalls :) 

Daddy & Lilly Belle checking out the farm animals

She would have "ran" to them if we had let her...

The farm was beautiful! 

Lilly Belle (as a one year old) is definitely a mama's girl. We'll see how that goes when she's 16 - my biggest prayer in life right now is that it stays the same ;) 

Miss Independent - she likes when we let her walk ahead

Lilly Belle & Daddy looking at the mini horses

Super cute clubhouses! Unfortunately, there were a ton of kids running crazy through them and they were all unattended. Parents piss me off sometimes. Oh well...

Corn maze that was kiddy size

This picture describes Lilly Belle perfectly. So silly :)

One last picture before we left for nap time :) 

Next weekend we will be checking out a new farm :) 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lilly Belle: 14 Months

Lilly Belle - 14 Months Old

We had a fun September! Lilly Belle is changing and growing so quickly. I can barely keep up!

We watched the first Cal Football game of the season and surprised Daddy with our new Cal leg warmers and hair clip that Mommy made. (Daddy didn't like the leg warmers so much, but Mommy did) ;) 

Played with Mommy...a lot!

Celebrated Nana & Uncle Clint's birthdays by going out to a yummy lunch on the water.

Got to play with "bling."

Learned when she needs time to herself. Sweet girl.

Visited Grandma & Grandpa in WI for Micol's wedding. (Wasn't too sure about Mommy not being around I think, but had a fun day with G & G).

Auntie Jenna got some snuggles in!

Got to see a real "princess" as Lilly Belle was calling, Micol. 

Got dolled up a lot :)

Learned a lot more about all things Disney to prepare for our upcoming vacation to Walt Disney World/Disney Cruise!

 Learned how awesome soccer balls are!

Mastered the art of climbing.

More big bows...

Became quite nurturing with "ba-bays."

Carried her Little Mermaid purse around everywhere... (was mine when I was little)

Visited a farm for the Pig Luck.

Wore her Mickey Ears around like it was her job - Good girl.

Seriously, you guys, time is flying! I'm pretty sure I say that every month, but this month really went so fast. I feel like it was just a few weeks ago that we had her birthday party, but that was 2 months ago now. It's a little terrifying really. Here are some updates for the month...

On the Move!
Girlfriend can walk! She started walking about a week into her 13th month. It is really hard to say exactly when she started walking because she started taking a few steps here and there and every day she would take a couple more than the last. It was really interesting watching her learn. She really didn't go for it all in until she felt 100% comfortable and ready. I wonder if that is foreshadowing part of her personality as she grows? It has been so much fun to chase her around. Everyone keeps saying things like, "Ohh, your life is really going to change now!", but I haven't felt that. I really like having her be able to walk. 

Look Who's Talking!
Lilly Belle has continued to add to her vocabulary this month. She really amazes us with this every single day. It is incredible how much she picks up on and what she can say now. Here is a list of words and phrases that Lilly Belle can say (ones that were not listed in any previous posts or I'll be here listing words all day...):
*What is that?*Who is that?*I can't!*I'm cold*I'm So Cold*Open*Close*Ball*Pluto(more clearly than previous months)*Minnie Mouse*Mel Mel (Aunty Mel)*dance dance dance*more more*thank you (more on this)*keys*cheese*there you go (she will say this when she wants something from us because she knows when we hand things to her we say, "There you go," it's so cute)! 

The Magic Words
Lilly Belle is the queen of saying, "Thank You." She does it without us telling her to. If someone hands her something, she will say, 'thank you' right away. It is the sweetest thing. Being appreciative is something that is huge to me so I'm so proud of her for picking this one up so quickly. 

What's New?
This month we spent a lot of time at Kids Club together (my part-time job). She has really grown so much there as far as socializing goes. If she wasn't already super social, she most certainly is now. She is starting to get more comfortable there each time we go and it's been so great to get to watch that. I feel very blessed that I get to be with her as much as I do. Two of my jobs are ones which I bring her with me and am doing activities for her so I'd say that's pretty lucky. We started a class together on Wednesday mornings. It is just 4 weeks long and we've done 2 so far. It's called Busy Bees, and it is a movement class for toddlers ages 12-24 months and their moms. I've had a blast teaching it and getting to watch Lilly Belle enjoy the class. We sing songs, play with the parachute, balls and instruments and we do a few action songs as well. We both love it. Our family is now just 9 weeks away from our Disney World/Disney Cruise vacation so that has been fresh in all of our minds and keeping us busy. We have been trying to have Lilly Belle watch Disney movies here and there to be more familiar with the characters. As if she doesn't know enough already ;) 

Watch Me Grow!
Lilly Belle is finally starting to outgrow her 9 month onesies. I've slowly been putting them away each time she wears them. She is now wearing 12-18 month pants but many of those do not fit anymore. She is in some of her 9 month onesies, but mostly 12 month, 12-18 month & 18 month tops. It really is depending on brand lately for sizing. It's Fall now which means my favorite time for consignment sales! I hit up two this past month and have another one in like 10 days. I always find her the cutest things there! 

Matt and I agree that this time in her life is one of our favorites if now our favorite yet. She may be difficult at times and can throw a mean tantrum, but most of the time, she is sweet as can be and cracking us up. Lilly Belle is not such a great morning person and really counts on her morning nap which is an hour after she wakes up. If she can get that nap in, she's a happy camper. Her schedule right now is (usually):

7am - Up for the day / Nurse / Breakfast
8am - Nurse / Morning Nap
9am - Get dressed & play or errands or kids club
10:30am - Snack
12/1pm - Nurse / Afternoon Nap (1-2 hours) with lunch before or after depending on the day
3:00/3:30pm - Snack
5:00pm - Nurse / Evening Nap
6:00pm - Dinner / Bath / PJs & Hair / Story / Nurse & Songs / Bedtime

She has been sleeping through the night most of the time. Every now and then she will wake up around 3 or 4 to nurse, but we have had nights now that she will sleep 12 hours straight through. Finally... ;)

Say Cheese!
Last month, Lilly Belle had 4 teeth. This month, Lilly Belle has NINE!
She is working on 3 molars + 2 more at the moment. I feel so bad for her! Her teeth always seem to come in more than one at a time. Better to get it over with??
I'm just glad that her molars are coming before our trip. It would be sad for her to have to deal with all the craziness PLUS teething. So hopefully we will be in the clear then.

It has been a really fun month with Lilly Belle and this month is going to be even more fun. We love October! We have some fun plans coming up which include Salmon Days today, the pumpkin patch tomorrow & our Fall Feast Family Fun Day in a couple weeks.

We love you, Lilly Belle!