Friday, January 16, 2015

Five on Friday

It was another busy and fun week in the Lanese household. 
Here are 5 of my favorites from the week!

#1. MOPS

Lilly Belle and I attended our first MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) meeting on Tuesday at our church and I am in love. I am in love with the mommy time, in love with the table I was put at and the incredible mamas I met and in love with the message. I also was really happy when I picked Lilly Belle up and she was crazy happy playing with all the other kids her age. Apparently, she is now friends with Lauren & Kate. ;) 

I bought this yesterday because, well, duh. Being Lilly Belle's mommy and teaching my sweet little ballerinas are both the best jobs ever. I'm a lucky mama. 


Matt and I took our weekend to organize. More. It is my new years resolution to be more organized and so far, so good. We are only about 2 weeks in and already our home is so much more organized. We have moved tons of not needed items to our storage unit. We are so clutter-free and it feels marvelous. We are not done, but we are off to a great start! Every weekend we take another car full of items over to storage. During the week I set everything out on our patio as I go through it to either sell on our communities FB consignment page or to put in storage. It really feels like home and finally like we can breathe. 

I ordered this book from Amazon a few days ago and it arrived yesterday. This is already my motto in life. I never say it, but I definitely follow it. I always have. Lately though, I've realized that I've let a little fear sneak into my life. This book is amazing and I've only just started. I'm so excited to see where this book with take me!
I follow Lara Casey on Instagram and am always so inspired.
Instagram: @laracasey

5. My (Prayer) Journal
I have started to not only write in my journal about my thoughts, hopes, dreams, and worries but have  also started to write prayers. When I feel down or feel like things are spinning out of my control (something I struggle with) I just go grab my journal (if Lilly Belle is sleeping or Matt is home) I close the door, get cozy and write away. I write out all my worries or whatever is bothering me as a note to God or as a prayer instead. It feels so amazing to know that it is always out of my control anyway so me worrying about it is not going to change the path or what happens because God already wrote my story. All I can do is learn to enjoy and embrace what he throws my way. 

My journal is from HomeGoods so I'm sure you can't find it, but here is a similar one.

So there it is, five exciting new finds and adventures from our week! Happy Friday!

PS #6 ... Matt brought me flowers. For no reason. He just got them for me and told me he loved me. I'm a pretty lucky girl. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Dance Class!

Little miss thing has been a dancing queen lately. She dances every chance she gets. 
She started her own dance class last week and (for her age) is doing a fantastic job. 
Yesterday I had to be in the room with her for most of it, but she still danced and had a great time.

Represent, Lilly Belle.

I had her come with me to two classes on Monday when Papa couldn't watch her. I brought a bag of toys thinking she would just sit down and play while I taught since the kids are 3-5 year olds. Nope, girlfriend did 2 45-min classes in a row. She followed right along with my kids. 

Bunny got to go to dance class yesterday too!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Inspire | Dream

My hope is that when I die, that I had inspired others while I lived. 
I am 26 years old.
I am young and have a beautiful life. I am blessed.
Blessed with a husband and a beautiful baby girl. Blessed with family who loves us. Blessed with a roof over our heads and a community who supports us and helps us grow. Blessed with a job I love; a job where I get to teach children and change their lives - just by loving them. 

I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I have been making some big decisions. Or, not making them. I have not been making the decisions out of fear. Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of lack of perfection. 

Tonight, while I sat here dreaming away, I decided to share with you what my biggest thought was tonight in hopes that it will help others reading this as well.
Feel free to print it out or pin it.

I have put my dreams on the back burner and I'm not going to let that happen any longer. I am young and I am not going to waste any more time. This is a new year and it is time for me to stop fearing failure. 

I feel like God is telling me that now is the time for these dreams to become something more than that. I will continue to pray and continue to work hard. 

Never stop dreaming. 

Disney Cruise With a Toddler (Tips & Tricks)

Last month, we went as a family on a 7-night Caribbean Disney Cruise!
Matt and I had been on an Alaskan Disney Cruise a few years ago and we weren't so sure how Lilly Belle was going to do. We were nervous about the sleeping arrangement, formal dinners and wondering if the two of us would really be able to enjoy it as much as we had last time with all of our "freedom". All of our nerves were quickly put away as we learned that no one is lying when they say Disney Cruise Line is the best for families!

TIP #1
If you can, we definitely recommend staying in a Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom. They are a bit more pricey, but definitely worth every penny. There was so much space in our room! We walked in and were completely amazed. There was a curtain that divided the room and that was perfect for both naps and bedtime. We also learned that because the tv is on a swivel mount, you can bring it over to the other side of the curtain to be able to watch tv while your child/children are sleeping. 

TIP #2
That brings us to the 2nd tip. On each Disney Cruise Line ship, there are channels available on the TVs in each stateroom that will air the live shows just 15 minutes after they begin live in the theaters on board. This is great for parents who may have a child old enough to see the shows and one too little. We would take turns staying in the room with Lilly Belle while she slept while the other went to the shows live. Neither of us had to miss them then!

TIP #3
Bring activities to dinner to keep your child busy. The dinners are long. They start with bread and then an appetizer, then your meal followed by dessert. You will be there for a long time each evening.  Lilly Belle always started to get antsy as we would be waiting for our entree. 

TIP #4
Ask your servers if they can bring your child's entree out with everyone else's appetizers. This way, your child will have their dinner sooner and will have something to focus on and keep them busy so you have more of a chance of actually getting to eat your dinner!

TIP #5
Use the It's A Small World Nursery! We only used it for a few hours of our trip, but we were very happy with it. You have your Wave Phones which are like walkie talkies, so they are definitely able to get ahold of you if needed. We were really happy with each of Lilly Belle's stays. On one occasion, Matt went to pick Lilly Belle up and was greeted by Peter Pan! Peter Pan was actually just in the nursery playing with all the babies and toddlers! Lilly Belle was so excited. I only wish we had pictures or a spy cam to see how she responded! 

TIP #6
Pack swim diapers! Although children who are not potty trained are not allowed in the pools, they can still play in the splash areas. On the Fantasy, Lilly Belle loved Nemo's Reef! There were little waterfalls, water sprays, and even a little slide for the kids to play on. The water was a bit cold in there because it's covered and shaded, but it was a blast! We played in there often! There were a couple times that the stores were closed while we were on board and we were unable to buy diapers. So, lesson learned...pack a bunch!

TIP #7
Grab some toddler friendly food during the breakfast buffets that you can keep with you throughout the day. There is a break in the buffets between breakfast and lunch and then lunch and dinner and sometimes, Lilly Belle would get super hungry and just wanted something simple like a banana. My sister in law had a great idea too of filling baggies with trail mix type food by the oatmeal bar. She made little trail mixes for the kids that they could munch on all day. Wish I would have known to do that before we were at the airport on the way home ;) 

TIP #8
The sports deck is a great area for your child to get their wiggles out! If you can find a time when there aren't many people playing basketball up there, it is a large open space for your child to run!

TIP #9
Use your Personal Navigator! This one seems simple and like a total "duh" but really, you could fill your entire day with things to do for your whole family in that thing! Between little shows and character meet and greets, there is alway something going on, even for toddlers. We loved the Wake Up With Disney Junior shows in the mornings and also the Character Dance Parties where the kids got a chance to dance and play with some characters! 

TIP #10
Remind yourself that one day, you may get the chance to lounge in the adults only area where it is so calm and peaceful...but for now, soak it all up with your sweet kids! We loved to see it all through Lilly Belle's eyes. She was so in awe with everything. That was probably the best part of the whole cruise...

(Feel free to Pin this post and if you have any more tips to add, we would love to hear them in the comments section!)

Saturday, January 10, 2015


I've been looking forward to today all week.
We went to a community preschool fair and had a chance to chat with a few preschools that we have been interested in. 

I have really been wanting Lilly Belle to attend preschool at our church, but also really wanting her to start in a 2's class which they did not have.

We learned today that beginning in the fall of 2015, they will be offering a 2's class and that we can register Lilly Belle in a couple weeks! 

We met both the director and her teacher today and they were just wonderful! 
Miss Lindsey will be her teacher (as of now) and she was so sweet. She was exactly how I would picture a preschool teacher. Lilly Belle was crying while we were there because since dance class on Wednesday, everywhere we go, she now thinks I am leaving. So, she was clingy and freaking out but her teacher was so sweet to her the whole time. It was really comforting. 

I am excited that Lilly Belle will be in such a safe place and will also be learning about God while she is there. We are really working on our families relationship with God right now and I am so glad that Lilly Belle will have a great foundation.

A few of the other things that we were happy about when choosing Timberlake Christian Preschool were that with her tuition, she will have Spanish class as well as Little Kickers (soccer). I also love that most of the other parents and kids in her class will be people that we will be going to church with so we will start to grow our church family more as well. I like that her class will be 2 days a week T/Th from 9:00-1:00pm as well. I feel like that is the perfect amount of time.

We are really happy with this decision and will continue hoping Lilly Belle stops crying when we drop her off at Sunday School on Sunday's ;) Good practice since it's in the same room where her school will be held.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five on Friday!

It was our first week back in the real world after both having basically the entire month of December off. We adjusted quickly and I'm loving this new schedule!

Here are my favorite things from this week.

1. Disney Side @Home Celebrations

Show Your Disney Side

I was chosen among thousands of applicants to host a Disney Side @Home Celebration! This means that Disney Parks and BSM Media will be sending me a complete party kit as well as a hostess gift. Last year, the hostess gift was a brand new carry-on luggage that had all the contents for the party inside. I'm so excited to see what our kit includes for Lilly Belle's Princess Party! 

I've started a Pinterest board here that you can check out!

2. Lilly Belle started dance class this week! 
She loved it and hasn't stopped telling anyone who will listen that she "go to dance class!" She says it perfectly clear and it's the cutest thing I've ever heard.
She only cried a few times during class if she saw me and her teacher is so sweet and would just pick her up or comfort her and then she would be fine. 

3. Church!
We started going to Timberlake Church again and I look forward to Sunday all week long. We love all the pastors there and the messages are great. It is almost like Matt and I get a date because Lilly Belle goes to sunday school. We drop her off and then go get some treats and coffee before heading in. I'm really happy we started going again and I hope we can continue this habit of going every week. I also started to write my prayers down in my journal. It feels so refreshing knowing it's out of my control and that is okay. It has been a big weight off just reminding myself that things are not up to me but up to God instead.

Love this.

4. Sweet Moments.

With the new schedule we have right now, I only teach 7 classes/week but it only comes to be 1-2 hours/day. It gives me time for myself (well...myself with a bunch of toddlers/preschoolers) but also gives me an incredible amount of time with Lilly Belle. I'm loving this.

Silly girl has been loving to climb on everything!

Helping mommy...

5. Zumba!

I went to Zumba last night and I remembered how much I loved going. I haven't gone since before I was pregnant with Lilly Belle. It was fun to dance like an adult to adult music. I miss hip hop so much and although Zumba isn't fully hip hop, I definitely get to get a little of that part of me out. It was fun and now that we have our gym memberships again, I plan on going more often. 

It was a good week.

Today Lilly Belle and I are working on more organizing. My 2015 resolution is to be more organized and so far so good. 
Today's agenda: take donations out, clean our car, pick up an organizer for her toys in the car, return some things to Home Goods, and go grocery shopping. Hoping we can fit some time in there to go to the mall so I can get some jeans and Lilly Belle can play!

Happy Friday!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lilly Belle | 17 Months

For the first time since Lilly Belle has been born, I don't feel like, "What? She's ___ months old already?!?!" This month, it definitely feels like we have a 17 month old and it feels like that's exactly how it's supposed to be. I don't feel like time is going crazy fast. It feels just right.

So, here it goes... the most incredible month of our lives. 

Lilly Belle | 17 Months

We started this sweet month with Nutcracker Story time at our local library. There were at least 50 kids in this room. Look where my child is standing...

The night before we left for our vacation, my hip hop kids had their recital and Matt had an exam so Lilly Belle had to come with me. She loved it. 

And then it was off to Walt Disney World for 7-nights...
Our sweet little princess ruled the kingdom. 

She went on her very first safari...

and she met some very special princesses...

Then we were off for our 7-night Disney Caribbean Cruise where this little sailor sported her first little pigtail buns and climbed lots and lots of stairs! 

She visited St. Thomas for the first time

Where her toes got their first dip in the ocean! (Notice her toes are pointed...I'm just sayin')

She got to visit San Juan, Puerto Rico...

She got to play with Nemo...

Had an early morning dance party with Goofy...

She enjoyed her first ice cream cone and so much more... (will do separate post)

We may have and the most epic vacation of all time, but some of my favorite memories from this month were the ones we made right here at home...

We got to meet Baby Zoe, Chris and Katie's sweet new baby girl. Lilly Belle now likes to lift up my shirt saying "Baby" (also due to Auntie Megan having a baby in her tummy), but girlfriend is on a baby kick right now. She loved Zoe and we do too!
We also brought sugar cookies over for her and Avery to decorate together. Lilly Belle mostly ate the frosting and sprinkles ;)

Since we have been home from Disney, Lilly Belle continuously asks for certain characters or flat out she will ask, "Go to Disney?" Yes...Lilly Belle, we hear you. Promise ;) 

On Christmas Eve we went to meet Santa and tell him what we wanted for Christmas...or that we did not want to be near him ;)

Lilly Belle woke up on Christmas morning to find her brand new playroom!

Opening gifts was serious business.

After we opened gifts, we went to Nana and Papa's house where daddy built Lilly Belle's new Minnie Mouse Toddler Quad from Mommy & Daddy. She was pretty pumped. 

She had a dance party with her cousins who she totally fell in love with during the cruise. 

She got some cuddles with her Auntie Mel and Uncle Chris, daddy's big sister and brother. 

And she learned that you can do anything with a little bubble wrap! 

She was reunited with her dear buddy, Owen. These two had a blast together and we hope to get to see them much more this year!

We had lots of dance parties and learned that this girl can make anything into a stage. 
Her shirt says it all.

She had tons of playtime with her new toys from Grandma & Grandpa!

 And snuggled a lot with her "Dog Dog." 

She read lots of books, as usual. 

And we did lots of sleeping. I mean...coloring. 

We discovered that Lilly Belle hates bubble baths. They terrify her. She won't sit down.  

She started to figure out that certain things go together. An example being that when I tell her we are going to see her cousins, she immediately starts asking for "Maggie!" (Auntie Megan)

Or...that when wearing a dog dog costume, you are just like Cogsy...

And we brought in the new year. 2015! 
Don't let the photo deceive you. This girl was quite the party animal. She has definitely discovered the power of her lungs and is not afraid to be heard. You go, girlfriend. Never stop being afraid of that...just know your timing. We can work on that one together ;) 

And I'm going to speak for her and say that cousin Quenton is her new best friend. 
Just a guess...

Oh, these two...makes me so happy! Such good friends and so cool that they always can be.

I think the pictures mostly did the talking this month.

Lilly Belle is talking a ton. She can speak in 3-4 word sentences and is eating basically everything we eat. I don't cut up much food for her anymore at all. She is only nursing in the morning (most days) and every night before bed. No more nursing before nap time. 

She was kind of forced to grow up a bit this past month being on that vacation. She had to learn to adapt and she totally did. She was such a good girl.

Ever since we have been home, we have seen such a spark in her. She has such a beautiful fire. 
She is an amazing little girl. She brings us so much joy. 
We miss her when she's sleeping and get so excited when she wakes up and we can hang out with her. 

This is by far our favorite age with her. 

Lilly Belle, always be you. You are quite amazing... and we love you!
Oh and ps, please never stop giving us these sweet kisses you now give. 
Can I go wake you up now to just squeeze you? No? 
Happy 17 months, our sweet Lilly Belle!